Panopticon/Waldgefluster Split (Bindrune Recordings/Nordvis Productions)Tuesday, 21st June 2016
If you’ve been listening to extreme metal for the past few years these bands should be known to you (if only in name recognition alone). Minnesota’s Panopticon is the creation of “do it all” journey man Austin Lunn. Munchen’s Waldgefluster, once a solo venture of multi-instrumentalist Winterherz, has now expanded out to a fully functional band. Both bands have shared a bond since their inception in folk inspired black metal sound and nature/cultural aesthetic. This bond even led to Lunn and Mr. Herz appearing on one another’s past few releases, so it’s no surprise both artists would release a split album together.
The cover of this split sums up its contents perfectly. A lone cabin amidst a dense forest, a small plume of smoke rising from the chimney. No doubt, inside a few rounds are being had by friends, playing song ideas on acoustic guitars and joking about past memories.
Waldgefluster begins the disc with the twelve minute “Der Traumschander”. Swaths of melodic guitar lines weave over folk inspired black metal with an indomitable spirit. Winterherz has an excellent vocal range which varies from extreme rasp to soulful sung passages. Mournful violin accents the melancholy affair and elevate the folk element even further. Waldgefluster follow up with a cover from Panopticon’s “Norwegian Nights” from Panopticon’s Roads to North release.
Panopticon are up next and Lunn comes blasting out of the gates with “Hakan’s song”. This is another twelve minute-ish opus that has flourishes of melodic black metal mixed with some great early Swedish death metal style melodies. Lunn does a wonderful job of balancing all the facets of his sound here while keeping the track feeling personally relevant and touching with his guitar melodies that extend into Devin Townsend (think Accelerated Evolution) style progression at the tracks end. Panopticon finish off the split with a blue grass style cover of Waldgefluster’s “Trauerweide II”.
In all this a great split for previous fans of either band, or those new to both artists searching for two of the most important folk inspired black metal acts of our times.