If we want to make a quick summary after listening to Closer to God, we could talk about Pantheist‘s return to funeral doom after more than a decade, but such a statement would be reductive if not simplistic, because Kostas Panagiotou is an artist who cannot be easily caged in a specific label; if works like the self-titled one from 2011 and the more recent Seeking to Infinity were pervaded by very different impulses from those found in his debut full length O Solitude and the following Amartia, it should not be forgotten that the musician of Greek origin has continued in recent years to attend the shores of the darkest doom playing with Clouds and Aphonic Threnody and creating together with Ivan Zara the excellent Towards Atlantic Lights, whose last album I mentioned a short time ago, not to forget numerous fruitful collaborations with other realities gravitating in this stylistic segment. Certainly the new album shows those rhythmic slowdowns that lead back to the sub-genre that Pantheist helped to codify at the beginning of the century, and it’s no coincidence that Kostas makes use of the collaboration of consolidated connoisseurs of the subject such as the Americans Jeremy Lewis (guitar, Mesmur) and John Devos (drums, Mesmur and Comatose Vigil A.K.), together with the French Frederic Laborde (aka Nereide, guitarist, Hidden In Eternity) and the Welshman Matt Strangis (bass), but the novelty lies in a cinematic mood that is made explicit since the presentation notes, going to discomfort even the late Ennio Morricone; for once what was announced is perfectly true to the contents of a work and, so, airy melodies are sometimes combined with a strong growl, or are accentuated in direction of an atmospheric drawing inspiration from the work of one of the greatest contemporary composers as the Italian master. The setlist presents immediately a very long track like Strange Times, in which are outlined in more than twenty minutes all the sound nuances that Panagiotou intends to spread in this his last work, so the remaining three tracks, more or less oriented towards one or the other of the two previously mentioned compositional aspects, are the natural consequences of an inspiration that the musician (from years living in the United Kingdom) proves to have still intact, putting it again at the service of the sound that fans of atmospheric doom prefer. The presence as guest of Romanian flutist Andrei Oltean (Clouds) and the mastering by Greg Chandler are other important details in a work that confirms the Pantheist (now curiously represented with an umlaut on the letter “I”) in the role of absolute importance occupied with merit since the beginning of the century.

2021 – Melancholic Realm Productions