Originally written by Jordan Campbell
Pantheist’s Journey Through Lands Unknown is a tough album to dissect; there are way too many things going on here, and they range from the outright awful to surprisingly promising. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the former is far more dominant.
Floating somehwere between doom/death and funeral doom, Pantheist flirt with faster-than-expected tempos quite often, changing things up almost haphazardly within each song. With five of ’em clocking in at 35 minutes, the album certainly isn’t a marathon, but the trudgery involved renders it nearly as taxing. Cramming too many ideas into a song typically destroys any shot at creating a lasting impact, and these amalgamations of random crap aren’t breaking the rule.
Take “Unknown Land” as a cross-section of the album as a whole. Goofy, Dracula-esque clean vocals punctuate some sub-standard doom riffing. The awkward production simultaneously brings the lightly-tinkled keys into equal standing, thus adorning the song with an unintentional frailty. Then, unexpectedly, a Tom G. Warrior “Unnnhh!” flops out of the speakers, and we’ve got some half-assed Cauldron Black Ram-style deathslop going on…while the keyboardist having a full-on organ synth orgasm, living out a Jon-Lord-at-a-hockey-game fantasy that would’ve best been kept private. While it would be great if a band could successfully merge some serious Deep Purple throwback into the context of a doom record, Pantheist’s attempt does more to detract from the package than it does to enhance.
The most effective piece of music on here is the three-minute instrumental “Haven.” However, it’s little more than a glorified interlude, leaving this lackluster album with a mere four real songs for your buck. The fact that all of them are unfocused, unimpressive, and wholly lacking in requisite heaviness should be a compelling enough reason to keep that buck lodged in your wallet.