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Pan - Driftwood

by Andrew Sifari at 07 October 2014, 9:30 PM

PAN is a band from Michigan, specializing in dark, progressively influenced Metal with a hint of Doom on their sophomore effort, 2014’s “Driftwoods”.

People tend to use the term “Progressive” very loosely, but while the massive compositions on “Driftwoods” are very riff-based, the progression of musical ideas, shifting time signatures, and technicality of the music certainly justify labeling it as such. Take opening track “Cold Wind and Dark Waves”, for example. The band covers a lot of ground, alternating between slow Doom, cascading, Jazz-influenced riffs, and straightforward Death Metal, all while keeping a consistent tone throughout. It’s kind of like ELECTRIC WIZARD-meets-OPETH, but even that doesn’t properly sum up the band’s varied approach, which helps keep things interesting despite the bulk of each song, the shortest of which clocks in at a hair less than nine minutes.

The groovy “Civilization and the Old Way” gives way to the dark, riff-heavy “Serpents and Bones”, the song with probably the most catchy main riff on the entire album, and also the one that highlights Chris Boris’s strengths as a guitar player the most, though the rest of the band is in rare form here as well. The noticeable presence of John Carey’s bass in the mix is a major plus, while Ken Kline’s versatile performance behind the kit holds everything together. Boris’s vocals consist primarily of Death Metal growls, but the occasional clean-sung part finds its way in from time to time, most often to good effect. The most prominent example of this is probably the stoner Rock of “Slow Waters and Grey Skies”, a 13-minute epic that slowly builds in heaviness before mellowing out at the song’s conclusion.

Simply put, “Driftwoods” is 55 minutes of Progressive/Doom/Stoner Metal goodness. For as much as there is going on within each song, the band is direct enough that it doesn’t take a lot of patience to enjoy things for what they are, even with the average song length measuring at over ten minutes apiece. Crushingly heavy and satisfyingly technical, “Driftwoods” is an impressive effort. I would highly recommend it.

4 Star Rating

1. Cold Wind and Dark Waves
2. Civilization and the Old Way
3. Serpents and Bones
4. The Ancient Isle and Disillusionment
5. Slow Waters and Grey Skies
Chris Boris - Guitars, Vocals
John Carey - Bass
Ken Kline - Drums
Record Label: Working Class Druid


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