Autumn Eternal

After telling us about his Kentucky roots with 2012s Kentucky, and then his move to Minnesota with last years Roads to the North, Austin Lunn appears to have settled down and is down dealing with the most fitting season for his style of organic, naturalistic and atmospheric black metal- Autumn. And I gather autumn in Minnesota is a beautiful yet rugged time of year, much like this album is beautiful and rugged.

Those familiar with the last two albums, (of which Autumn Eternal is the final piece of a trilogy), know what to expect here, and Bindrune is the perfect label for the sound. Earthy, melodic, sweeping black metal rooted in the elements and nature. There’s nothing antagonistic or nihilistic as Lunn taps deep into his own experiences feelings and thoughts, inspired by his surroundings.

Opener “Tamarack’s Gold Returns” gives us an obligatory dobro and violin tinged Bluegrass intro, revisiting Lunn’s roots and reminding us of the past. But then it’s onto the meat and potatoes with “Into the North Woods” which is essentially the album’s style and soul with somber but gorgeous, contemplative, melodic riffs, distant howls and plenty of crisp, fall day atmospherics. The track ends on a wonderfully upbeat, almost Christmas-y  vibe.

The title track starts with a chilly bluster, but settles into a far more introspective pace and before swirling off into the woods with some gorgeous synths, strings and I think I even detect some subtle choirs in there too. The track bleeds directly into “Oaks Ablaze”, an otherwise blustery, fiery track, with a nice mid song break. One of the album’s standouts,”Sleep to the Sound of the Waves Crashing” initially lulls with a well……. wavy intro, before exploding with a more urgent blast and subtle layers in the background, before a very good, almost Gothic march with some wonderful violins at the 3  minute mark, which leads into a just gorgeous string only section, which is movie score quality good.

Personal favorite, “Pale Ghosts” starts with just glorious, soaring riff that comes close to “Chase the Grain” from Roads to the North and has that happy/sad vibe and shimmer that many post black/shoe gaze bands (Ghost Bath , Woods of Desolation) etc) are utilizing, and it more than makes up for the slightly out of place clean vocals which are not Lunn’s strong point, though they seem better on the 11 minute penultimate epic, “A Superior Lament”. “The Wind’s Farewell” closes the album (and trilogy) with a fitting, somber instrumental, and we are left wondering what’s the next chapter in Lunn and Panopticon’s musical and literal journey?

That all said, I think I prefer Roads to the North a shade more, but Lunn along with Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore are taking one man black metal to incredible new heights, and I cant wait to see where Lunn takes us next.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 7th, 2015


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