ISIS — Panopticon (review)

ISIS — Panopticon album cover Album · 2004 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Beekeeper
A good friend of mine introduced me to this band long before I was ready for them and told me a lot about this piece of music. One of the things that stuck with me was how he said that a lot of people had written to the band to tell them how this album helped them kick their heroin addiction. At face value I found it strange and didn't quite understand what it meant.

Five years down the track armed with broader tastes and an open mind I popped this sucker on, and now I understand what my friend was talking about.

Panopticon would be an album of juxtaposed styles if it wasn't so homogeneous and well written. Depressive sludge metal riffing gives way to spacey dream like post-rock textures frequently and it seems so natural and unlaboured that you don't give it a second thought save to enjoy it. I mentioned the word 'depressive' here and it is probably the most accurate descriptor you could give this album. I don't take that word lightly, I haven't really listened to a record that nails the depression vibe as well as this one - helpless, heavy, tender and with the slightest hint of hope.

This album is definitely an acquired taste, sludge, doom and stoner will always be that way. Do not let that detract from the wonders of this album, albums this cohesive, deep and meaningful are rare delights that should be cherished.
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