5. Panopticon - Kentucky (2012)
What better way to wrap up my top 5 new finds of the year than with Kentucky's own Black Metal/Bluegrass trip, Panopticon!
I had never heard of this band prior to 2013, but when I heard that there was a band that mixed Bluegrass instruments with black metal I thought was skeptical, and thought it would be DUMB AS FUCK, especiallly with a name like Panopticon! What is this, a Pantera themed Transformer? I checked out a couple songs on YouTube and thought it was good, but nothing amazing. I found a copy of this album for a good price on my band's labels webstore and decided to give it a true shot... and WOW... I was blown away.
It isn't as "Blackgrass" as some reviews make it out to be (it isn't HEY WE R TEH BLACK METULZ PLAYING TEH BLUEGRASSES IN SONGS LOL). The album is made up of half folk-black metal songs that at times do have bluegrass instruments, and half straight up bluegrass songs! I wasn't sure what to think of it, I really wasn't, but listening to the album from front to back is a trip. You can tell that this guy is very proud of where he is from, and its history. To be honest, the power this album produced brought a tear to my eye. It is so great to hear AMERICAN black metal pay tribute to AMERICAN roots. Who would have thought it could be done so well?
Here is a link to their Bandcamp to stream the whole album. Much like the Gallowbraid EP, this deserves a listen from beginning to end. Just give it a chance and you'll see how well it all melds together... but if you are just wanting a quick sample, click on "Bodies Under the Falls".