Painfully slow, brooding, depressing, bleak, and sullen are good ways of describing most Doom Metal music. However, when it is done right, the music cannot only cater to the listener’s taste but can also lead to an ambient journey into the darkest corners of his or her mind. On “Amartia,” Belgian metalheads PANTHEIST fits this category very well.
Formed in 2000 by Kostas, PANTHESIST was originally a dark synth-based project (in which he recorded a self-produced demo) until Nicholas joined him and a band began to take shape. In 2001, they both entered a studio in Belgian (with the help of session musicians) to record their first demo called “1,000 Years” which would mark the beginning of PANTHESIST. Originally starting out as a heavy, dark, gothic influenced doom metal band, they began to expand their horizons as they faced line-up additions and changes. After recording their first album “O Solitude,” which featured bassist Frederic Caure and drummer Oscar Strik, PANTHEIST faced more inner conflict, which caused Frederic and Oscar to leave. After playing numerous European festivals, relocating to England in 2004, and more line-up changes, vocalist Andy and bassist Mark (from band ESOTERIC) joined PANTHEIST record their latest effort “Amartia” on Firedoom Records.
As a result, “Amartia” is a work that is very well crafted. With the use of ambient classical orchestration, cathedral-like choir vocals, low and bruising guitars, and drums, which are hard-hitting yet mostly plodding along, the album, is consistent and has a distinct sense of direction without becoming too redundant. It is also interesting to note that “Amartia” is lyrically a thematic album as well; revolving around the conflict of man and his questioning of and struggling faith in God, (seven of the tracks are titled after the Seven Deadly Sins).
Elements of MY DYING BRIDE, TIAMAT, ANATHEMA, and MOONSPELL are prominent influences in the bands music on tracks such as “Greed”, “Pride”, and “First Prayer” (the latter being possibly the best song on the album). The music on each of these songs is much more than good enough to satisfy any die-hard Doom Metal fan. However, what separates PANTHEIST from the rest is their occasional hint of Black Metal musical ornaments and influences. For instance, the explosive “Wrath” is just as every bit as heavy and fast as any EMPEROR or ENSLAVED song can be, and the end of “Apologeia” breaks into a black metal frenzy as well. These small contrasts in styles blend extremely well together creating music that is bound to catch listeners by surprise.
PANTHEIST’s latest effort “Amartia” is certainly not for everyone. But for those who are bold, daring, and willing to take a dark journey into the underworld of Doom Metal will be satisfied and moved by the musical and artistic brilliance on this album.
- Andy - Vocals, choirs, drums
- Kostas - Vocals, keys
- Mark - Bass
- Nicolas - Guitars
- Daniel Myhr - Keyboards
- First Prayer