"May our voices harrow you
That you should never forget.
With burning syllables
Mark we thee witness
Henceforth unto death."
Italian label I, Voidhanger Records specializes in the recherché. The label undoubtedly has a knack for finding international talents that challenge metal's very constructs—both sonically and conceptually. It's a trait that both the label and Panegyrist share. The Chicago-based band revels in the avant-garde, combining epic and black metal into a theology-driven blend of unique music. Their debut record, Hierurgy, delves into the grander transformation and unification with God.
Vocalist Elijah Tamu spoke to the concept of the record. He stated in a press release, "This unification is not a dissolution of self into a generic 'divinity,' but is instead a higher individuation that occurs in relation to the Divine Other, across the ontological abyss. The abyss is transcended in a manner parallel to its very existence: the living relation between the individual and God is precisely the higher unity that is made possible by the distinction. Existence itself is prayer.”
The foundational concept behind the music certainly makes the album enticing. Yet, Panegyrist's actual compositions are wholly engrossing. Take "To Quicken Stone" for instance. At over nine minutes long, this grandiose offering siphons from the very best aspects of bands like Arcturus and later Emperor records. It's complex and multi-faceted. Parts of this track showcase fierce black metal tremolo and blast beats—typical genre styling—juxtaposed with hallowed chanting. Eventually, other nuances emerge. More progressive metal tropes surface, mainly in the softer ambient passages. Overall, this track is a perfect sample of what to expect from the rest of Panegyrist's scintillating debut. "To Quicken Stone" beautifully portrays the liturgical tone of the album's concept with the extravagant and eclectic black metal the band writes.
Find an exclusive stream of "To Quicken Stone" below. Pre-orders for Hierurgy are available through I, Voidhanger Records. The album officially arrives May 18.