Review: Sepulcher invoke Panoptic Horror
Norwegian fucken death metal.
If you could rail up the intensity of mid-80’s thrash, cop some second-hand haze via a crust-punk’s PCP, and wash it down with a gullet-full of unknown piss from whatever the fuck Autopsy et al. were drinking back in the day, you’d be on your way to where the current crop of Norwegian death metal bands reside. While each band in the nascent scene there exhibit strikingly similar sonic traits, for someone who finds the rejuvination of the primordial death metal sound an invigorating experience, scoring a handful of active bands whose sound is so inextricably linked is nothing short of rapturous. In short, I tried, I really did…but I’m back on my bullshit.
So you’ve probably ascertained by now that Sepulcher‘s follow-up to 2015’s unrelenting thrasher Mausoleum Tapestry fits right in with the offerings proffered by their Norsk cohort, and for the most part, it does. However on Panoptic Horror, Sepulcher appear to have attempted to incorporate some extra dynamics into their sound; mostly by way of more prolonged dwellings in the slower tempo sections, which were previously restricted to slight periods of respite between all-out fury. There are times when the band seem more comfortable exploiting a particularly stompy rhythm for all it’s worth (see ‘Towards An Earthly Rapture’ and ‘Haunting The Spheres’), often with a jam-like structure bordering on punk-simplicity. Whereas Mausoleum Tapestry was comfortably ensconced in the echoes of Obliteration‘s explosive Black Death Horizon, Panoptic Horror fuses the more experimental excursions of Execration (‘Corrupting The Cosmos’) with the unadulterated mania of Reptilian (‘Scourge Of Emptiness’). The result? How about you decide for once? Go on.
Yes, that was a bit of a cop-out on my part. But in all honesty, I’m a good few years beyond the “recognising I have a problem” stage of this Norwegian death addiction. So there’s no way to even entertain the idea of being an independent arbiter at this point. And truthfully, I am on the fence about whether or not the simpler parts of Panoptic Horror are to its (slight) benefit or (slight) detriment. Nevertheless, over the past month or two this album has proved its worth in replay value, and one look at that compelling cover art should be suffice for this record to crack open wallets, and consequently, skulls.
3.5 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell
Sepulcher‘s Panoptic Horror releases through Edged Circle Productions on the 14th of September.
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