I couldn’t still recover from the doomed shock that meant “Amartia”, when I got on my hands the newly released EP by PANTHEIST. Released by Russian underground label Serpent’s Lair, it is a big fat one hour long CD including two new songs, a KATATONIA cover and as bonus the “1000 Years” demo, a forgotten shiny jewel in the band’s discography.
“The Pains Of Sleep” opens with the self-titled track, which embraces us with a suffocating haunting beauty. Kostas’ clean voice is a sorrowful yet passionate mourn and his growling is deep and desperate. Just like in “Amartia”, the vocal lines build the skeleton of the melodic structure, in company with overwhelming organs and a quiet keyboard on the calmer parts. The song writing is simple but very rich, with a perfect equilibrium between subtle ambient and heaviness.
A heavy, kind of bucolic keyboard introduces us to “Pavor Nocturnus”, which is a suffocating Funeral Doom mastodon in the purest style of THERGOTHON. Creepy, terrifying vocals conspire with a devastating slow drum to create a musical nightmare. “Pavor Nocturnus” is Latin for nocturnal horror and the song truly manages to create that sensation on the listener. This is by far the heaviest song PANTHEIST had ever created and believe me that you don’t know how freaking terror inducing Funeral Doom can be, until you listen to “Pavor Nocturnus”. To the final part, it turns more melancholic and atmospheric, but conserving the dense texture.
The new material ends with the KATATONIA cover “For Funerals To Come”. Just like the original song, it’s a relaxing end with deep voices and a sweeter atmosphere that is welcome after 25 minutes of sanity torture.
I will not dedicate many words to the demo “1000 Years” and it won’t count for my rating either. It contains rawer, less developed versions of songs already present in the two previous albums “O Solitude” and “Amartia”. Expect something considerably harsher and less polished and well, if you’re a fan of PANTHEIST the listening of this demo is more than recommended, indispensable… a nice gift by the band, although the first two songs alone could be enough to make it one of the best Doom Metal releases of the year.
(Online November 17, 2006)