Monday, January 9, 2012

Panopticon - Social Disservices

Image of Panopticon "Social Disservices" CD

I have never truly seen the clouds obscure the sun as I have seen this day. Panopticon has put forth an articulate vision of hopelessness and dispair. This pain and personal hardship explored throughout Austin Lunn's latest masterpiece, Social Disservices, is visceral and intense as watching a loved one slip away before your eyes. Panopticon provides an utterly complete and overarching manifesto on the failings of system that destroys those it is in place to protect. Based around the interactions of the aforementioned Lunn with the government system he saw shun and destroy countless souls, nothing gets in the way of his voice on Social Disservices. Everything about this record is centered around the emotions experienced by Lunn. 

This is the first time Austin has ever used his own artwork on a release for Panopticon. A relief, as I could see no one else who could articulate what needs to be expressed visually. The cover depicts a faceless person crouched in the fetal position surrounded by knives. A man standing alone on fire graces the inner liner notes. They are images of desperation. Sketchings of the damned. All are images that bow to Panopticon's vision. 

The vocals are tortured howls from the depths of need. They are cries to action. Austin Lunn painstakingly wails immensely personal lyrics denouncing an uncaring system. A system that is more concerned with the money in its pocket, then the very real people in its care. A system with rampant abuse, that concerns itself with silencing and marginalizing rather than listening and guiding. To read more on this I greatly encourage all reading this to pick up a physical copy of the album.

The music also sets itself apart from anything Panopticon has attempted in the past. The, guitars, drums, bass and other instruments all work for the song and the concept. The music of Social Disservices is expansive and beautiful while managing to be concise. The music is not nearly as sprawling as on other Panopticon releases. Instead, straightforward movement provides the perfect accompaniment to the emotion breathe of the songs. Sometimes angry, but most times mournful and melancholy, the various instruments employed never fail to move the listener. 

All in all, I believe Social Disservices will be heralded as A black metal classic. It easily made my album of the year for 2011. Panopticon has created a true defiance of the norm in service of an amazing cause that needs desperate attention. As I said before, I greatly encourage everyone to pick up a physical copy. The vinyl is absolutely perfect, and my recommended format. The CD is also well worth your money. Drop by Flenser and pick yourself up a copy!

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