Pantheist
Seeking Infinity

The first two albums from Belgian/UK act Pantheist (2002 O Solitude and 2005s Amartia), are in my opinion, two of the finest examples of funeral doom of the two decades. However, with 2009s Journey Through lands Unknown, founder  Kostas Panagiotou took the band’s sound away from the immense ‘church doom’ tones into more experimental and progressive pastures and with more of a focus on clean vocals, and I lost interest in the band. So much so, I never heard that albums self titled follow up in 2011.

Well it appears the band (with only Panagiotou  as the only remaining member from the early releases) has had a Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride revival, as Pantheist look to have returned to the knee wilting, crushing and emotionally rending choir and Church organ flocked sound of the early albums. I can’t compare to the last album, but certainly next to Journey, the deeper growls are back, though with some monkish croons still present,  and the overall style is back to the somber doom of the first two albums.

After the spoken word intro, the first real track “Control and Fire” delivers the first of 5 mammoth tracks (all except one over 11 minutes), with grandiose church organs, huge growls and slow burning, loping riffs, and I’m into Pantheist again. The clean vocals are still in play, just used more effectively with more deliberate placement, and of course moody atmospherics.  “500 B.C. to 30 A.D.- The Enlightened Ones” follows with the album’s standout track, a 13 minute sermon ish monster of a track with some great, melancholic piano work and a mid song prayer/hymn break that’s wonderfully austere.

“1453: an Empire Crumbles”, is sort of mid album break being only 6 minutes long consisting mostly of chants and instrumentals that remind of the 300 or Gladiator soundtrack. “Emergence” brings back the full on doom this time tinged with a real mood of sadness, not just crushing riffs. The almost 15 minute de facto title track “Seeking Infinity, Reaching Eternity” ends the album with a mammoth funeral doom crawl laced with gorgeous church organs and melancholic lead work that cements the band’s welcome return to form and even uses deep growls almost exclusively.  And for good measure it ends with an utterly gorgeous, uplifting but somber climax to die for.

It’s great to hear these guys return to the original sound, which seems to be a bit of a trend right now,  and I for one, am glad one of the best bands in the genre in the early 00s come back so triumphantly and right the wrongs of the last 2 albums.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 20th, 2018

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