Did you ever just get constantly impressed with the evolution that an artist or group of artists make through the progression of their work and craft? Panopticon certainly is making that type of impression on me at this particular juncture as the one man political black metal project drops one of the more politically acerbic records that I have heard in a long while, and boy does Social Disservices deliver the goods with an altogether grim mood that is just crushing, both musically and thematically.
Allow me a second to simply applaud Austin Lundr (the individual responsible for Panopticon) for tackling what is not only an extremely specific topic but also a serious issue that many in the United States have seen or felt first hand with Social Disservices; social services is a murky and abyssal government program to help people, and this album, thematically deals with the children put into the care of social services for various reasons only to be further damaged due to the ineptness and poor standards rampant in the system (of course this is generalizing in a sense as well as barely hitting the nail on the head, particularly in terms of the album but hopefully you get the idea).
As far as music is considered, Panopticon simply drop what may be the darkest album that I have heard in their discography; but Social Disserves is not all bulldozing power with little grace or dynamics, but rather Lundr uses dynamics and different instrumentation to heighten the impact of certain parts (Check out some of the parts in “Patient” that use what sound like violins or violas and “Subject” which, besides being probably my favorite track on the album, incorporates some almost industrial sounds and slower tempos at times). This is not to say that there is a lack of heavy sounds or relentless pummeling at times because Social Disservices certainly contains plenty of that and then some, and frankly, the album’s opening with the samples of children at play giving way to the devastating attack that is “Resident” is a great way to hammer the listener with such a jarring arrangement.
Panopticon kills it with Social Disservices as A. Lundr creates a powerfully themed album that has music to match the seriousness of the subject matter perfectly, and the execution of these four songs, while maybe not perfect, is urgent and impassioned sounding while dripping with a disturbingly real and wholly sincere conviction.
8.0 / 10
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