Pantheon I – “From The Abyss They Rise” (Non Serviam Records)
Composed of KVEBEK on gruff vocals (DEN SAAKALDTE, ex-1349), guitarist SAGSTAD (TROLLFEST, SARKOM), T.R.S. on bass (1349, DEN SAAKALDTE), MADS G on drums (THE ALL SEEING I, ZEENON), and LIVE JULIANNE on cello, Pantheon I is an avant garde blackened death super group from Norway who have been going since 2002. More recently they have been joined by Absu’s Aethyris McKay on guitar and clean vocals which is further proof of the band’s ascendency in recent years especially with regard to more live performances. In celebrating their decade of chaos and relentless melancholy, Pantheon I have issued a compilation of 13 unreleased songs spanning the last 10 years from their earliest material in their 2003 “Demo MMIII” right up unto their latest EP – although their elusive debut “Atrocity Divine” continues to remain so as even the band themselves don’t own a copy of the album, let alone any recordings! The quality throughout the album varies depending on the strength of the sound tapes, but nonetheless the essence of Pantheon I pervades throughout, that of band unafraid to experiment while keeping to the classic style of its black death core. Whilst the earlier material like ‘Enter The Pantheon’ has a more traditional black metal sound from Kvebek’s tortured screams, raw metallic clanging guitars and blast beat furor, songs like ‘Core Of The Soul’ exhibit more tempo changes and more melody albeit amid a still chaotic backdrop. However, it’s the more recent material like the title track that really shine and show the full avant garde potential of the band being realized in quiet, melancholic passages graced by violins followed by hyper speed metal overlaid by some astounding gothic cello work. With Kvebek’s vocals taking a more growling form, the material takes on epic, almost operatic elements with dark heavy passages adding to the ever changing mood. If there is one constant about this band it has to be their strong anti religious stance and that remains. But for that fact, this is one of the most experimental bands around, and this compilation is like a journey back in time not just with the band, but living it through your past life itself.