|Let me begin by saying that, when I heard Panthe´st for the first time, I realised I’d made one of the greatest musical discoveries of my entire life to date. And, listening now to the awe-inspiring masterpiece of woe that is 'O Solitude', I can only strongly vouch for that statement.|
It begins with a sudden crushing wave of guitars and plush double bass (the huge, low-pitched string instrument), with Kostas Panagiotou's wretched, tormented bark following shortly afterward, and continues this way for the next 58 minutes or so... This album could no better be described than as a series of requiems - funeral music. And it is of such good quality, and displays such rich emotion, that I wonder whether or not these four men are perhaps not humans, but some far supreme race. It’s THAT good.
And It’s not as if I’m some kind of funeral doom fanatic either, as I’m simply not (although this band have inspired me to research the genre further). Because, although most describe Panthe´st as a funeral doom band, they are far above the limitations this or any other genres provide...so don’t let this categorization restrain you from giving the band a listen. Hell, if a fussy, pre-pubescent My Dying Bride obsessed nerd can fall madly in love with Panthe´st, anyone can.
Another remark numerous critics have taken to is that the band is heavily influenced by classical music, which, to a point, is true. For starters, the monolithic fan-favourite 'Envy Us', which also features a superb vocal contribution from deep-growling multi-project/instrumentalist Stijn Van Cauter (who also sometimes aids the band as live rhythm guitarist), is directly influenced by, and includes re-arranged music courtesy of the great classical composers 'Beethoven and 'Chopin. And there are several other direct classical influences also...the afore-mentioned double bass as well as lots of other interesting acoustic instrumentation, the heavy usage of synth, keys and piano, the general song structures etc., however, I think this is definitely still a metal release. The music also features its fair share of (reasonably) speedy, aggressive moments, with rampant drum-bashing, frenzied vocals and potent guitars (at one point, at the near-end of 'Time', there is even a solo guitar improvisation, which one cannot resist air-guitaring devotedly to), however, these are few and far between. No, for a majority of the time, the music is downbeat, slow and arduous, deeply dark, depressing and mournful, and crushingly heavy, but still very tense, emotive and atmospheric. Besides the growls and screams of pain, the vocals are also often sombrely chanted or crooned, and there is the occasional empathic yet miserable spoken word also. The second track, 'Don't Mourn' seems to have been proving to be especially popular and discussed thus far, being extra slow, mellow and atmospheric. It’s also incredibly emotional, and by the time it reaches the climax of the song, represented by the high-pitched, sweet-sounding baglama at roughly the 10 minute mark, you desperately want to burst into tears and wallow in misery forevermore.
This is... one of the doomiest, greatest pieces of music I’ve heard in a long time (if not ever), and I cannot stress enough how much I think anyone remotely interested in sad, heavy, emotive music should at least check this amazing band out. You can do so via their official website; www.pantheist.co.uk. These young fellows really have work to be proud of with this masterpiece, and have a massively promising future ahead of them... Okay, so perhaps it won’t be wrought with ‘chicks, booze and money’, but success within the doom-metal scene for sure.
1. O Solitude
2. Don't Mourn
4. Envy us
5. Curse the Morning Light
Duration : Approx. 58 minutes
Visit the Pantheist bandpage.