Split album are some of the most unique offerings a band can give their listeners. These are chances to show fans how unique they truly are; how different they are from the rest of the metal world. Splits are great opportunities, too, to widen their audience, they can work with a well-known band and, putting their best foot forward so to speak, left the wider world see what they can do. The third opportunity for bands doing a split is to tell a story without another band, like a two POV novel.
Falls of Rauros and Panopticon engineered a split called Brotherhood, on a side note I love it when the splits have actual album names rather than just the names of the bands involved. It’s an absolutely fantastic album that displays each of the bands’ strengths and differences. This is my first time listening to either band though I had been hearing about them for quite some time. I’m glad I chose this split to experience them both. The music left me hungry for more and fascinated by the vast differences in the bands themselves.
Falls of Rauros (props for the Tolkien-esque name) hail from the frozen lands of Maine and play some of the best atmospheric black metal I’ve ever heard. The production on the two songs on Brotherhood is phenomenal, it’s clean and precise and at the same time it’s still cavernous and epic. Musically, too, Falls or Rauros, are masters of their craft, there is no sloppy shredding guitars or overly bombastic drums, everything has its place and everything works together. There was not much of Falls of Rauros on the split but it’s enough to make you hunger for more.
Panopticon is a vastly different band from Falls of Rauros. A one-man project, Panopticon has more in common with the old black metal, specifically Dark Medieval Times era Satyricon, than its cleaner sounding counterpart. In terms of sound, Panopticon has a very Medieval Metal feel. It’s dirty, cavernous, and fast, very similar to what we could imagine the actual dark ages to feel and look like.
Each of these bands have a strong sound and they play very well of each other on the split, their styles complement each other perfectly. Lyrically, though there are no Panopticon lyrics available, the two bands are in lock step with each other: anarchy, nature, and spirituality. This shouldn’t be surprising as both bands fall under the RABM (Red/Anarchy Black Metal) umbrella.
I loved this split, it feels a lot like the Leviathan/Xasthur split. Two powerhouses coming together to lift up their genre (atmospheric black metal in this case) and showcase the wide array of talent within the genre. Worthy of a listen!
Listen and support!