|[note by author: Before I start these reviews I must note that the founder of Panthe´st, Kostas, works for Doom-Metal.com, and he is also is a good friend of mine. I have tried to not let this influence me. I've not GIVEN him good reviews of this nor treated him like the son of the teacher, and been harsher than I should have been. Fortunately Panthe´st is a great band so I was not put into a difficult situation.]|
Panthe´st's lengthy 'Rehearsal Tracks' album consists of two demo's (of which the first '1000 Years' is just a raw version), songs for an upcoming concept album and 2 additional covers. While just in their beginning stages, this young Belgian band shows the potential to challenge the mighty Finland one day!
This potpourri of Funeral Doom starts out with an organ intro that would turn the Phantom of the Opera green with envy. This intro and the other first 4 songs are raw versions of the upcoming demo '1000 Years'. Slow, brooding funeral doom with some creative touches like dual vocals. Overall very impressive and definitely something for anybody into Skepticism or Thergothon. The keyboards make the whole sound more accessible.
However, a clear give away that these tracks are still in a very raw, unprocessed form, is the guitar sound. It suffers due to the lack of production (this is a rehearsal CD after all), making it sound rather thin. Really nice is a track in Dutch called 'Liefde voor niemand'. It is nice to see a band daring to also write lyrics in their mother tongue.
Tracks 6 to 8 are, according to the band, destined for an upcoming concept album. Musically however they are in the line of the previous tracks. The keyboard sound is lusher and overall these songs sound better worked out and more finished than the '1000 years' tracks.
The ninth track is a cover of Katatonia's 'For Funerals to Come'. Panthe´st must have been aware of my personal taste here, as I think this is one of the best tracks Katatonia ever recorded. The band recorded this for the MP3.com Katatonia cover contest. Given the high quality of this work it's an outrage they didn't win it. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that they created a darkwavish epos without any metal traces? Or perhaps because most modern-day Katatonia fans are not familiar with this ageing track?
Next comes the, as the band themselves put it, "mediocre Anathema cover (just for fun)", 'Destiny'. If you ask me it is a lot better than mediocre. However the haunting and brooding atmosphere of the original song has mostly been lost. And that was exactly the thing that made the original track so strong. So a bit of a shame here.
The last 3 songs on the album have been taken from the first Panthe´st demo 'Dying Millennium'. While the funeral element is present, the metal element is not. As such I am edging towards labelling this as dark ambient or darkwave. The rather dark spacey sounds and drums remind me of a band like Pazuzu. Perhaps a little more than it should. You can easily float away on this music, lie on your bed and just doze off. Only to wake up again bathing in sweat due to some horrible nightmare taken straight out of a gothic novel. The last track 'Exit' however should have been just that: exit. Kostas, in a review elsewhere on this site, complained about the unnecessary noise track on Katatonia's 'For Funerals to Come', but that is exactly what 'Exit' is, an unnecessary noise track.
All in all, this rehearsal recording gives us an overview of a very promising young funeral doom band from Belgium. They still sound a little ruff around the edges and need to work on perfecting their material, but when they do I am sure they will become one of the bigger and better names within the Funeral Doom genre. And I'm not just saying that because Kostas works for Doom-Metal.com, this is really good. For more information E-mail Kostas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. 1000 years (intro)
4. Liefde voor niemand
5. 1000 years
9. For Funerals to Come
Duration : Approx. 67 minutes
Visit the Pantheist bandpage.