Fall Of Pantheon

The Shadow Envelops All EP

Written by: AP on 05/12/2013 18:53:33

Death metal continues to be one of the most popular genres within the Danish metal community, and so the the extreme amount (in relation to the size of the local scene) of domestic bands old and new practicing in the genre is no great wonder. One of the younger aspirants who have been gathering some momentum in recent years is Fall of Pantheon, whose faithful, no-frills approach to the genre has earned them the adoration of many a grizzly metal aficionado, not to mention an esteemed performance at Copenhell last summer. The group released a new EP entitled "The Shadow Envelops All" in the Spring, and that effort is now to be dissected for its merits and pitfalls.

No description of a Danish death metal band can at present be attempted without mentioning its current champions By the Patient, whose dark, atmospheric style has, since the release of their debut album "Servants", been seeping onto the palette of virtually every band of this kind in the Danish underground. But as opposed to coming across as mere idolatry or plagiarism, the aesthetic is rather a foundation upon which Fall of Pantheon build their sound, and it would be unjust to claim they're little else than a By the Patient clone. No, where the latter draw a mighty influence from Behemoth - a decision, which has earned them the blackened suffix - Fall of Pantheon celebrate the core essence of pure-bred death metal, adding to it touches of dimly lit atmosphere via melodic instrumental segments. It's an expression which, though now becoming characteristically Danish, owes much and more to the Swedish brand of death metal (mind you, not the Gothenburg sort), with bands like Aeon, Dismember, and Grave coming to mind.

Inspecting the vocal department, Philip Burr's style sounds to me a mixture of Suffocation's Frank Mullen and Decapitated's Rafał Piotrowski; and when considering the thick groove, blistering speed, and technically demanding solos, all enjoy a heavy presence on the EP, neither of those bands seem unlikely as candidates for inspiring aspects of the music on it, either. Fall of Pantheon certainly have their influences in order, then, and listening to songs like "Corrupting the Newborn" and "The Price of Betrayal", one hears not an amateurish group of musicians stitching together bits of their favourite bands, but a band with the talent and finesse to combine those influences convincingly into a personal style. The former is gold for headbanging enthusiasts, entering an intoxicating groove set against an unsettling lead melody around the halfway mark; the latter distinguishing itself with very Suffocation-esque pace changes.

Unlike many of their contemporaries, especially those produced in the United Kingdom and States, Fall of Pantheon have opted out of a clinical modern production, and this decision pays off in terms of old school credibility. Mind you, the mix is not deliberately coarse, nor is it analogue; rather, they've found a golden balance between affording each instrument an equivalent proportion of the mix, and retaining an organic sound. There's a welcome 90's feel to the chuggy proceedings at the beginning of the standout "Inner Dystopia", and the black inferno of tremolo unleashed in "Punishable by Death" sounds rightfully brooding as a result.

Indeed, with this effort, Fall of Pantheon show the promise unveiled on last year's "Oculus" EP was not a stroke of good fortune, but rather, the first step in the band's ascent into the absolute elite of Danish metal. Whether or not their inclusion there can be justified remains to be seen, as only across the 10 to 12 tracks that constitute a full-length album can Fall of Pantheon fully employ their tradecraft, and prove their music packs enough diversity to occupy more than 20 minutes' worth of disc-space. "The Shadow Envelops All" certainly gives comfort to my hope and belief that this will be the case.

8

Download: Corrupting the Newborn, Inner Dystopia, Punishable by Death
For the fans of: By the Patient, Decapitated, Suffocation
Listen: Facebook

Release date 13.05.2013
Self-released

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