Panopticon – The Crescendo of Dusk (Nordvis/Bindrune Recordings)

Wednesday, 24th July 2019
Rating: 8.5/10

I’ve never had the pleasure of bearing witness to the Northern Lights. This is no surprise given the southerly flavor (on either coast) to my years of being alive (my year and change in Rhode Island notwithstanding). No surprise but no less stinging considering if experience in the world has shown anything, it’s that any phenomenon that’s stunning on video will be life altering in person. For Austin Lunn this apparently rings true as well as the Northern Lights are the central inspiration behind this two song EP of material left off of The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness and Autumn Eternal.

This EP quietly released digitally back in January but with the summer has finally joined the world in physical form on vinyl. Centerpiece “The Crescendo of Dusk” is a mammoth, 14-minute journey across spaces excoriating and euphoric. Though cut from the same cloth as The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness I: endlessly streaming tremolo rains married with Lunn’s signature drum work. An experience of three parts, a furious first act cuts to at atmospherically dense and spiritually cathartic middle section (what one could only imagine is the moment of first sight). The closing rises but with far less intensity and with a distinct vision toward a lulling end – an end that gives way to a long fade out into silence. As a song it makes use of most of the pieces of the Panopticon sound, the metal pieces anyway.

“The Labyrinth” is a showcase of the folk/bluegrass-derived aspects of the band and taken from the Autumn Eternal sessions and for those that found love in The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness II will find similar here. Meditative with spoken-word vocal delivery, acoustic-focus, and slow-burning build all its own, it is a vastly different journey. A journey, however, that helps make The Crescendo of Dusk the experience it is.

So unfortunately while I may be waiting a while yet to see the Northern Lights for myself, The Crescendo of Dusk will keep the desire locked in.

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