Title: Panoptic Horror
Label: Edged Circle Productions
Release date: 14 September 2018
Format reviewed: High Quality Digital Promo
Today’s review is the album Panoptic Horror by Sepulcher. Before the getting into this actual release, it seems fitting to mention where they are from. The hashtag #Fusa associated with the band is referring to their home county on the west coast of Norway. Fusa is sparsely populated with less than 4000 inhabitants. Deer hunting and fishing are popular ways to kill time. And in this environment, there is a thriving metal scene. My first introduction to this scene was the 2012 release by Cockroach Agenda, after that bands like Inculter, Dead to this World, Reptilian, and Sepulcher has risen in the underground. The bands share some members spanning over different genres of metal, and there seem to be few metal festivals in Norway without the appearance of a # Fusa band. This is a young scene where I believe most of the members are in their early twenties. From an outside perspective, it seems the record company Edged Circle Productions is a vital part of the scene. Run by Stian Smørholm, better known as Iscariah, bass player in Immortal (1999 – 2002), an experienced musician and driving force in Fusa Metal.
Time to get back to this release, Panoptic Horror is Sepulcher’s second album. The debut came out in 2015 and now a new attack of blackened Thrash Metal is upon us. The production I old school and gives the feeling of being played live in the studio. Not sure if that is the case but the organic feel is evident and is perfect for this kind of metal. Sepulcher holds nothing back, the vocals are harsh and haunting, furious guitars and a rock-solid rhythm section. The first two tracks, Corporeal Vessels & Towards an Earthly Rapture, is full speed ahead dirty old school Thrash. Great tracks. On the third track, Corrupting the Cosmos, they slow it down a bit, not losing the force and attack, but adding some diversity to the album. Continuing with Ethereal Doom, as the title implies, has a doomy approach. Not real Doom, just a filthy angry trashy sibling of doom. The intro on Abyssal Horror brings early Darkthrone (the death metal years) to mind, not a bad thing at all. Scourge of Emptiness continues the party with its mixture of Old School Thrash and some oddly fitting Black Metal guitar parts. Sepulcher is closing this album with Haunting the Spheres, mid-tempo riffing paired with blistering speed riffing and then some slow parts. It is basically all over the place, including a solo in Folk metal territory. After the first listen, what just happened? 7 tracks who more or less goes all over the place in terms of influences and execution. Yet Sepulcher somehow pulls this album together, leaving me to want more. At every listen the album reveals something new to me, the influences of this young crew show great diversity not losing the “red thread” of the album. It is a demanding album, but if you give the spins it needs, I think many will find that the reward is great. It might seem a bit odd to say about an in your face Thrash Metal album, but there is a lot happening here.
Overall this is a great release with the youthful power and energy, not holding anything back. They have matured a bit since the debut, creating a more challenging album, but not losing any of the qualities they had on their smashing debut (Mausoleum Tapestry). In terms of metals future, Sepulcher could very well be one of the bands pushing the genre forward while still holding the flag of Thrash high. 9/10 Harald
9/10 Epic Storm
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.