Vestiges+Panopticon – Split LP

It’s no secret that I have a personal love and appreciation for the one man project of A. Lunn – Panopticon – so please allow me to harp on about this band one more time. It’s unlikely it’ll be the last time I talk about Panopticon so you’ll just have to deal with it. After 2011s searing Social Disservices and 2012s more melodic affair, Kentucky, Panopticon is back – this time with a split from another favourite of mine, Vestiges.

Vestiges side of the split nicely follows their debut The Descent of Man and their split with Ghaust in 2011 by naming the tracks contained here in a continuation of the songs found on those releases. “VII” and “VIII” deftly progress the sound that Vestiges created on their debut whilst bringing a new sense of coherence and a world of agony into these new works. Pantopicon meanwhile, evokes the landscapes we heard on Kentucky with two new compositions – “A Letter” and “Eulogy” – as well as a furious cover of Suicide Nation’s “Collapse and Die.”

Vestiges: Top secret guys. Panopticon: A. Lunn

Darkly gorgeous reverberation ushers in the beginning of Vestiges first track “VII.” Swells of morose abjection curl and fade as the song twists into form beneath a deep well of shade. Minimal drum beats add to the ghostly atmosphere as guitar lines become more solid and the pace slowly builds towards an indistinct growl that lies hidden behind the increasingly bittersweet movement of the music. Such serenity isn’t meant to last and soon “VIII” kicks with a brutal cry and a crash that cuts straight to the agonising point. “VIII” grows to aggressive proportions whilst never losing sight of a shimmering melody and a punchy drum line that is as thrilling as the expansive soundscapes that Vestiges have wrought from their very hearts on this new work. Doomed sections of total annihilation filter into the otherwise furious passages that Vestiges do so well and gorgeous traces of echoing solemnity lie with hardened tracts of crust-infused motion. The sudden end brings about a condemning finality and all that’s left is to stare in wonder.

Panopticon’s side of the split follows in the vein of the previously mentioned Kentucky and 2011s split with Wheels Within Wheels in that it flows with a majestic melancholy in the lines of glistening guitar work, yet treads the waters of injury with the harsh and low-lying vocal of Austin Lunn. His words have always held a power and in “A Letter” there is a distinct and painful anguish that contrasts achingly with the post-rock influenced movements of the guitar. “Eulogy” is a stark portrayal of misery and the song clashes quiet moments of reflection with screams and cries of true desperation. The final track here, “Collapse and Die – which is streaming on the excellent Hammer Smashed Sound – does much to pay homage to the original song yet Lunn works his own take on things into the fray and as such builds the track into something that fits the Panopticon sound and mission statement and makes it an excellent addition to this release.

Download and buy the split from Flenser Records, Replenish Records and from Panopticon and Vestiges themselves. All proceeds from the digital release will be contributed to The United Way of Central Oklahoma as both bands wish to assist those who were and indeed, still are affected by the devastation of the tornadoes that happened there recently. An excellent cause for sure.

Physical copies can be ordered from Flenser Records and Replenish Records.

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