Panoptic Horror, the second Sepulcher album, makes it much easier to put things in perspective and understand why their debut was so appealing back in the day. Indeed, whereas Mausoleum Tapestry sounded like a jam session conducted in a filthy pigsty by four guys who escaped mental asylum after not taking their therapy for days, Panoptic Horror feels like them being captured and returned to their cells, washed up, dressed in something clean, given all the medicine they refused to take and then some, well rested, and eventually handed out their instruments to try and recreate the magic that had happened in that pigsty, which unfortunately they don’t even remember anymore, being forcefully brought to sanity in the meantime.
Granted, Panoptic Horror isn’t the same filthy, primal, raw, urgent burst of energy its predecessor was, it’s more of a slightly domesticated, less dangerous wild animal whose desire to bite has been somewhat diminished. It’s evidently a more calculated and detail oriented, but arguably less gratifying precisely because of it.
On a positive note, it’s clear that the band has reached higher plains of songwriting proficiency, considering that the songs on the sophomore definitely resonate deeper compared to the debut. To the band’s credit, with only two albums they’ve managed to develop somewhat of a personal sound with a strong underlying consistency between them, primarily in terms of the overall feel of the songs.
As professional and reasonably more mature as Panoptic Horror is, it has unfortunately lost some of that uncontrolled, neurotic charm Mausoleum Tapestry had. Nothing that cannot be easily redeemed on their third full-length, mind you, and hopefully they’ll put their best foot forward next time, with an album that would transcend both of its older siblings, by letting them melt into each other for the sake of something bigger and better emerging in the aftermath.
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