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The Wanderer and His Shadow

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Album Review

When Norwegian guitarist Andrè Kvebek, aka Tjalve, left 1349 in 2006, it wasn't the end of his involvement with extreme metal. Kvebek had co-founded Pantheon I as a side project in 2002, and leaving 1349 gave him more time to concentrate on Pantheon I — a band that, although black metal-oriented, is far from a carbon copy of Kvebek's former band. 1349 (whose name, by the way, was inspired by the year in which the Black Death arrived in Norway) are not known for subtlety or nuance; they have provided vicious, harsh albums that make no apology for going right for the jugular. Pantheon I's second full-length album, The Wanderer and His Shadow, isn't exactly easy listening, but it has more in the way of nuance than 1349 discs like Hellfire and Beyond the Apocalypse. This 2007 release favors black metal that, although brutally heavy, is still more musical than 1349. While 1349's albums have run on pure adrenaline, the material on Pantheon I has more of a sense of craftsmanship. That isn't to say that The Wanderer and His Shadow is symphonic black metal; this album doesn't go for that type of lushness and is definitely harder and heavier than symphonic black metal releases. But even so, there is no getting around the fact that this 42-minute CD — for all its intensity — is less caustic than 1349's work. While The Wanderer and His Shadow certainly isn't groundbreaking by 2007 standards, it is a solid and worthwhile sophomore outing from this Norwegian black metal combo.

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