Panopticon - Autumn Eternal, and Nechochwen - Heart of Akamon

I haven't written anything in a long while, and for anyone who that means anything to, I apologize. I've written stuff but it all ends up sounding like crap, to me at least. So I'm putting my pride aside and trying to recommit myself to this, because supporting these artists and sharing awesome music with you guys means something to me, and hopefully, to you. There's so much I want to share with all of you, so many things that I'm so unbelievable psyched about that you'll just have to forgive me if my writing sounds like garbage. My heart is in the right place - just keep that in mind.

First and foremost, the time has come for a new Panopticon record, and as always, that is a huge reason to celebrate. I probably sound like a broken record in that I say the same thing every time Austin Lunn releases a record- "he's outdone himself" or "he just keeps getting better" or whatever. Be that as it may, but it doesn't change the fact that it's absolutely true. It's gotten to the point where everything in the Panopticon catalogue is just so stellar that I can't even compare them to each other anymore. They're all different pieces of music, and they all have their own merits. They all blow me away, and they all leave me awestruck. The forthcoming release of Autumn Eternal  is especially timely, and I'll admit that the cool not-quite-yet Autumn breeze blowing through upstate New York tonight is what has compelled me to finally get on here and post this. This is as warm a record as Panopticon has made - beautiful in its melancholy and resplendent like the turning colors of the landscapes in the fall - but it is, after all, a black metal record, so there's no shortage of in-your-face aggression and rage. The two things that pull this record together, though, are the stellar songwriting and instrumentation. Austin was an impressive songwriter and musician when those first Panopticon records were released, but he's on another level now. He's probably most often hailed for his amazing drumming, but Panopticon is really the entire package. Put all of that together with the uncompromising, unbridled emotion which Austin brings to every single note of each and every release and you've got a record which should move you like no other.

Autumn Eternal will be released in the USA by the almighty Bindrune Recordings, where preorders for the CD edition are now available (2LP vinyl edition coming soon), and in Europe by Nordvis, on whose Bandcamp page you can now stream the record's title track.

And that brings us to the record that may end up being the most surprising of 2015. Not because it's incredibly good - that comes as absolutely no surprise whatsoever. But because Nechochwen's Heart of Akamon is perhaps the most intense and aggressive metal record that I've heard this year.  The instant I started playing this record for the first time I could tell that I had no idea what I was in for. Well, I guess that's not exactly fair - the first 1:12 of the opening track are characterized by the lush and enchanting classical acoustic guitar that has become the calling card of Nechochwen. From there on, though, this one is a barn-burner. This probably shouldn't be a surprise, either - not to anyone familiar with Nechochwen's subject matter. The heartbreaking and horribly unjust history of the Native American Indian, again, is the focus of the record, and Heart of Akamon pulls no punches. The songs are faster-paced than on any of their previous releases, and the vocals are wilder than you would expect on a Nechochwen record. Metal has been an important element to every Nechochwen release since 2010's Azimuths to the Otherworld, but to keep things simple, Heart of Akamon is more metal, in every way. The folk passages are present, of course, and they are glorious, complementing the rest of the music wonderfully and giving Nechochwen its unique sound, that can, quite honestly, be compared to no other. You must hear this record. If you haven't by now, stop whatever you're doing, get this record, and turn it on. You will not regret it.

This record is available now on CD (again, vinyl will come later), from the same places as the Panopticon record. In the US, get it from Bindrune, here, and in Europe, Nordvis is the place to go (they also have a really nice t-shirt). It can be streamed and/or purchased for download straight from the band at Nechochwen's Bandcamp.

Don't miss wither of these records, if you know what's good for you.  Total support!

1 comment:

Andy Trebing said...

Just wanna say I've been reading you for years and rely on your tastes--similare to my own--for new stuff I might've missed. So glad to see new posts. And thanks!