Album Premiere: PantheistCloser to God

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Why do choirs pair so well with cosmic themes? Maybe it’s their defiant nature—carefully arranged notes against the backdrop of a chaotic universe. Or do the combined voices transcend the power of a single being, building bridges to whatever powers may wait out in the dark? (Perhaps to God.) From films like 2001: A Space Odyssey to the art-rock of Alan Parsons, we see these disparate elements clash in a way that is both uncomfortable and oddly hypnotic. In this exclusive album stream of Closer to God, Pantheïst continues this tradition with the elegance and emptiness of funeral doom.

As “Strange Times” begins its voyage, ethereal keys lift listeners to the heavens. You’ll have plenty of time to reflect on your life’s greatest failures, losses, and regrets as you ascend; negative emotions ring out as the raw, rusted sound of ’90s distortion (think Abducted-era Hypocrisy), but it’s not all misery. Thankfully, there are moments of beauty and catharsis to balance the compositions—after all, you can’t feel the full crush of loss without first knowing joy. For every guttural lament, Kostas Panagiotou’s cleans imbue these dirges with a dash of theater that helps ward off total despondence.

Whether channeling David Gilmour through soulful guitar melodies or going full ballad (see the second half of “Wilderness”) Pantheïst succeeds based on the sincerity of emotions on display, and the ability to hypnotize through repetition. Closer to God is an exhausting opus, but that’s the whole point; if you make it through a funeral doom album without feeling 6 feet of soil pressing down on you, you may be drifting dead through space already.

Closer to God is out today on Bandcamp.

 

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