The Cyclothymic Panopticon
posted on 11/2008 By:
For those of us who are not Polish, or just a very little bit, we all understand the thirst; the undying desire to get our hands on the water that they drink over there. There's something in it. And it makes man into machine. It also, on occasion, can make you feel woozy and vulnerable, and before you know it, you're out for a night on the town with Metal, being coerced through nightclub after nightclub, while it slowly reveals its thing for bad techno/industrial. So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give to you the season premier, and finale, of...... "How's Your First Date?!?" hosted by Hesperus Dimension.
What makes this EP especially frustrating is that it's not bad, but it's also not very good. It's just, there, hanging loosely in the balance. Their dark hearts are in the right place though, so are their fingers (tight rhythm guitar picking) and brains (conceptually), but black metal hard-wired with this cold futurism should be handled delicately, and here, it is not so much handled that way. The songwriting is adequate and strives to be the twisted super-charge of Aborym meeting the frigid cold twist of Thorns, around an Emperor-like straight-forwardness. Their musicianship and programming abilities are testament enough to that strong will (a real drummer would do this material justice, tenfold), and in this respect, they should be commended for setting their sights on high, especially since that "high" is so high that it sets their eyes to the sky. Unfortunately though, what will pound them further downward is their art-direction, a subsidiary of production.
The Panopticon presentation is so ten years ago in a black-leather-trench-coat-
Six compositions total, but only three actual "songs", one of which is form-fitted in latex and out for the kill with blips and bleeps, bondage style ("23 Hands"). The other remaining strays consist of Hesperus serving up a thesis in the form of the title track, which I believe has Faust (drummer; ex-Emperor, Aborym, Thorns) on the mic spitting spoken-word. The boggling "Immortal Portal Mortal" which is essentially three minutes of spooky synth glitches and bastardized bells and whistles underneath a repeated scarily-spoken (scary, not, I chuckled a little bit) three words: "Immoooooortal pooooortal mooooortal" (I felt the unbearable weight of persuasion on this one in particular). And last but not least, a throwaway remix of "The Axis Of Diagram" called "The Diagram Of An Axis" (tricky tricky wordplay), that is more of an attempt at sound-polluting the original, rather than actually chopping and screwing it into an alternate version, which would have been cooler.
The two tracks that are actually somewhat venomous in their attempt to remain "metal" are best suited for that Halloween '09 compilation that this will prompt you to get a head start on. I especially like the saxophone in the creepy crawly intro into lead-off track "The Axis Of Diagram" that hits just before these guys lunge dull blades at your neck in a barrage of speedy high-end mediocrity while trying to mimic the accuracy of an actual sharp stab. The word "dull" can double in describing the overall sound as well. Turn the keyboards down ever so slightly (because I can recognize their importance here), and maybe manipulate the fuck out of the prosthetic drums to really give a true sense of science fiction. Might as well go all out and fry my circuitry, right?
I know, I know .... quite a few words for an EP release, but Hesperus Dimension are really wanting us to see the bigger picture here. So I looked, and felt it my duty to take all things into consideration. At best, The Cyclothymic Panopticon will have you at half-tilt of a full on headbang. At its worst, you will feel trapped inside of an episode of Sprockets, or find yourself unwillingly written into the script for a sequel to A Night At The Roxbury. If you like comedy with your tragedy, you might thoroughly enjoy this.
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