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Pan.Thy.Monium - Dawn Of Dreams CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

3.91 | 33 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars PAN.THY.MONIUM was one of the earliest projects of Dan Swanö, who has become one of Sweden's most prolific veterans of extreme metal and this band served as a side project apart from his regular death metal gig in Edge Of Sanity with PAN.THY.MONIUM allowing a more experimental and avant-garde approach by taking death doom metal into more progressive arenas. The band started out anonymously with Dan's older brother Dag Swanö along with drummer Benny Larsson from Edge Of Sanity with Robert Ivarsson (rhythm guitars) and vocalist Robert Karlsson completing the lineup. The band members all had pseudonyms and remained mysterious with untitled tracks that began on the 1990 demo "Dawn" and the debut EP "Dream II." With the release of the first full-length album DAWN OF DREAMS in 1992, the band had finally revealed their identities but still opted for untitled tracks however they all have since been renamed on later reissues.

While Edge Of Sanity was just joining the early old school death metal club, PAN.THY.MONIUM was an altogether different beast despite being grounded in the same death metal scene at its core. This band cranked out heavy doom inspired death riffs with unintelligible guttural growls but also had a murky atmospheric dread that sculpted the bombast into something even more menacing and with the addition of the supplemental sounds a saxophone and violin, the project took extreme metal into completely unexplored realms. The compositions took great liberty in expanding the death metal paradigm as well with Dag Swanö's lead guitar antics taking many shapes including traditional bluesy shuffles, thrash metal palm muting punchiness and just plain weird experimental touches. Since the song titles were non-existent and lyrics indecipherable, the album relied on atmospheric interpretations and the vocals used were just another instrument.

The opening track which takes up nearly half the album is a monstrous progressive behemoth. It begins with a ticking of a clock and a saxophone sequence which makes you think this is a John Zorn album or some other avant-garde jazz artist but once the doom metal riffs start chugging away and the death growls howl into the night, it's time for good old fashioned Swedish death doom metal. The track starts off sounding like generic old school death metal but the frenzy of progressive time signature outbursts soon find more confidence to express themselves and the track begins to meander all over the place. The heavy metal bombast is pacified by the atmospheric keyboards which sometimes sound a little cheesy but are quite effective in elevating the overall mood setting into a bizarre hybrid of space rock and extreme metal. Touches of jazz are inserted when least expected and despite the dominance of the metal aspects finds ways to shift the focus including eerie psychedelic spoken word segments. Sounds like Swedish so i guess there are some meaningful narrations.

After the near 22 minute opener, the following six tracks may be shorter with the longest just shy of the six minute mark but in aggregate pull off the same varying instrumental gymnastics as the first track with the heavy metal guitar riffing alternating between dirge-like doom and the more upbeat death metal freneticism. In some cases there is more attention given to catchy melodic keyboard rolls that are implemented in an extremely spooky and alienating manner. While the remaining tracks pretty much finds new variations on the similar themes, the last one is perhaps the weirdest and most daring as it implements all the different sounds the album had to offer in concentrate. It begins with a heavy percussive stomp and almost whispered death growls but really pulls out the avant-garde punches with a series of sax squawks, post-punk bass attacks and sound effects taken to the max.

PAN.THY.MONIUM was and remains one of the most unique sounding extreme metal bands even within the prolific lengthy list of projects that Dan Swanö has involved himself in throughout the last few decades. This band not only expanded the boundaries of the nascent paradigm that was gestating into both the death and doom metal worlds of the old school era but also borrowed liberally from 70s progressive rock as well as the most experimental edges of post-punk and electronica. Add the John Zorn sax squawks and you have the perfect recipe for something completely out of the box. The band put out three full-length albums which incrementally ratcheted up the progressive and experimental features laid down on DAWN OF DREAMS. While the band's signature sound reached its apex on 1996's "Khaooos And Kon-Fus-Ion," the startling hybridization of sounds had already gestated into its full Frankenstein form on this debut. This is a highly entertaining and satisfying slice of adventurous experimental metal not to be missed by those who crave such things.

Renamed titles:

Untitled 1 = Raagoonshinnaah (21:49)

Untitled 2 = Eepitaffph (5:51)

Untitled 3 = Sieegeh (4:03)

Untitled 4 = IV (3:06)

Untitled 5 = Zenotaffph (2:42)

Untitled 6 = Amaaraah (4:26)

Untitled 7 = Ekkoecce (3:00)

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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