The Wanderer and His Shadow
Candlelight Records 2007
The Wanderer and His Shadow is a somewhat poetic title for an album and a band that aim to be slightly different and more expansive in sound and goals than the average black metal band. Pantheon I take progressive elements and meld them with scathing Nordic black metal avalanches. And to this end they succeed to varying degrees and though they are not your average Norwegian black metal band I do hear shades of many of their more unique and experimental predecessors like Emperor, Ved Buens Ende, and Enslaved to name a few. Pantheon I manage to belt out some pretty standard tunes that seem to draw on the above mentioned influences like the odd bass guitar heavy and calm passage at the 1:20 mark of Origin of Sin which is highly reminiscent of VBE. Really when I think about it the bass guitar lines throughout the album are really utilized in the vein of Ved Buens Ende which to me is a good thing. One of the album highlights is the tearful and emotional Coming to an End and includes the most moving moment of the entire album with the almost hardcore vocal break at the 5:20 mark. Pantheon I are certainly capable too of penning some black-as-pitch straightforward black metal as is illustrated with the opening passages of Shedim, Chaos Incarnate, and on My Curse, but they tend to temper it with softer and more doomy musings that sometimes even remind me of Brave Murder Day era Katatonia. Throughout the album I sort of feel like the guitars are a little too thin to fully visualize the stylistic elements they are trying to convey. The guitars sometimes get swept beneath the drums as a result. Pantheon Iís brand of black metal has interesting ideas but in the end it falls somewhat short of its lofty goals and stands as a piece of solid yet unremarkable music. Though I must admit I truly love the 2+ minute string section that closes out My Curse with a heart stabbing aural tribute to futility. Perhaps with more experience will come a better means to fully realize their epic and majestic vision of darkness.