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Panopticon Death - The Final Prophecy - 94%

Edmund Sackbauer, August 21st, 2018
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, More Hate Productions

There is no such thing as "too much Old School Death Metal” so here comes the next pretty unknown band bringing us their interpretation of that sound. Experienced fans of the genre are not going to find any surprises here as Panopticon Death are moving in narrow lanes sticking close to the tried and tested formula defined by big guns like Deicide, Hypocrisy or Grave.

The most extraordinary fact you are going to find about the band might be the location as Panopticon Death are hailing from the Ural mountains. Or “have been hailing” as it seems the split up shortly after releasing “The Final Prophecy”. This is a shame as while there are no real innovations the quality on offer is out of question.

This record is defined by atmosphere more than by brutality, speed of technical prowess. A lot of intro sounds and instrumental sections are used to set up a dark and mysterious mood. There are spoken word parts and some melancholic and even ambient like pieces giving the whole record a certain eerie feeling.

However, Metal music mainly is about the riffs and “The Final Prophecy” is no exception to this rule. While the details described above nicely work as additional layer the main focus of the record lies on traditional DM riffs. Most of the songs are kept in mid-tempo with only a few speedier outbursts and more frequent slow-down sections. The melodic lead guitars nicely harmonize with the powerful main riffs while the drumming is solid but more or less anonymous. This is meant to be a positive fact as there is just enough variation to keep things moving forward but it never gets too much to the foreground. Some of the short guitar solos create a slightly oriental sounding atmosphere.

The songwriting is solid as the slower and moodier parts are well implemented into the pummeling riffs. Panopticon Death even managed to write a few memorable refrains that will stick with you after the first listen. The production is heavy and thick with just enough dirt and filthiness for that kind of music. The guitars sound really huge and powerful and also the beastly vocals are perfectly audible. The drums could have sounded a bit more dynamic but like mentioned their main job here is keeping the rhythm straight so this is really just a minor complaint.

The cover artwork is also really cool showing some ancient landscape. This fits nicely into the overall picture rounding off a neat little gem that should be of interest for any fan of traditional DM.