PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

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PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by xMetalMarkx on Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:00 pm

https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hierurgy

Today I stumbled across this fairly new band in the May installment of "The Best Metal on Bandcamp" and didn't see any reference to it here at the CMR.  The packaging of the physical product looks stellar and I'm streaming it now.  It's epic, for sure, and I don't know if it's really in my wheelhouse, but it's really nicely done and I think it's pretty well described by the reviewer:

"Christian metal is usually a punchline when it’s talked about at all. The reputation of Christian black metal (“unblack metal”) is even worse. For nonbelievers, the subgenre has historically been thought of as a mere propaganda vehicle, the music secondary to its makers’ evangelism. Panegyrist’s debut album doesn’t lend itself to that kind of easy, reductive analysis. The project, led by the eloquent, devout Elijah Tamu, shows the awesome power that religious art can have. Hierurgy is as great a triumph for Christian black metal as the great cathedrals of Europe are for Christian architecture. Tamu’s passion informs every crevice of the six songs on Hierurgy.

"“I don’t just theorize or write about seeking union with God,” he says in a recent interview with Invisible Oranges. “I aim to make all of my life a unified act of living, breathing prayer and devotion.” That makes Hierurgy an extension of his theology, rather than a Trojan horse, hiding dogma behind riffs. It does have riffs, though. Tamu and his bandmates essentially take the maximalist, progged-out black metal of late-era Emperor to its logical extreme. Nothing is sonically off limits, so long as it serves the higher purpose inherent in Panegyrist’s mission. That means we get furious blastbeats overlaid with liturgical choral passages, swaggering arena-rock guitar solos, and black metal howls that border on throat-singing. Tamu’s faith is the cornerstone that holds everything together. Skeptics (this writer included) have no choice but to gaze in awe at his chapels and spires."

Here is feedback from a buyer:  "This album makes so much sense. It follows the exact path that I hoped would form from modern orthodox black metal. [Expletive] finally. I should be thanking this group for letting me give them money for this."
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by mothy on Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:36 am

I'm not a big black metal guy , but wow this is really good! Thanks for the headsup
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Kerrick on Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:00 pm

Wow this is right up my alley!  As if I needed more CDs on my wishlist...  Thank you for posting though!  I'll hopefully be picking this one up soon...

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by strangerhoncho on Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:36 pm

Sweet cover art.  Wish there was vinyl.

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by eatbugs on Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:41 pm

Kerrick wrote:Wow this is right up my alley!  As if I needed more CDs on my wishlist...  Thank you for posting though!  I'll hopefully be picking this one up soon...

Exactly this.

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Kerrick on Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:52 pm

Cool

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Devon Hill on Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:35 pm

Just in case this helps for people that might want to know, it doesn't appear this is Christian.  No disrespect to the band members if they read this, but my take is that this is based on esoteric spirituality, and alchemy, not orthodox Christianity.  Even in the description on the facebook page they refer to it is "advant-garde esoteric metal".  

The description on bandcamp talks about it too: "Journey through alchemical riddles and contemplations on the inner and outer temple, the void and the eye, the serpent and the savior. Come at last to the shores of primordial mercury, and take flight on wings of theion, the philosophical sulfur and everliving fire."

I had a look at the band leader's facebook page (to learn more, and just to make sure I'm hopefully understanding his stance the best I can), and here are a few other quotes to provide better clarity on his spiritual beliefs:

"Some thoughts on mereology, as I've seen it discussed in esoteric circles, particularly those relating to black metal. Quite a few people conflate the One and the Void, and fail to carefully consider how these relate to the Many. At a basic level, the One and the Void are akin in the sense of ἄπειρον ("apeiron"), i.e. the boundless, that which is contained by no limit. For to be bound by limit is to be subject to numerical division: "this, as opposed to this." This gives riseto the conclusion that the One and the Void are the same, and that they are more real than the world of the Many. However, the very fact of multiplicity cuts the ground from under this conclusion, and this is where most people I've encountered have not been challenged to follow the logic further. If the All is the One, this implies that the Limitless contains within itself the logoi, or individuating principles, for all things. If this were not the case, it would have been impossible for the Many to have arisen at all: and yet here we are. To see the world of Maya as "illusion" is already to operate according to a dualism: the real vs. the illusory.
To transcend dualism paradoxically requires the embrace of duality. The first, lower dualism sees the One or Void as being opposed to the Many. But resolving everything into an undifferentiated One or Void is profoundly illogical. Many who seek to transcend dualism still operate within the dualistic framework and only "pick a side." But I've come to see things differently: a true transcendence of dualism means seeing the One and the Many as being inextricable from each other. The very idea of "One" only has meaning in the context of Manyness. Likewise, the Many cannot be understood apart from the idea of Oneness: both in terms of the fact that the Many is made up of discreet "ones," but also in terms of the fact that for two things to be in relation to each other means that they necessarily partake in the same unifying Absolute reality. Reality is inherently relational.
I used to speak of myself as a"dualistic panentheist" (note: not a pantheist), and this was for a time necessary to safeguard myself against incorrect equivalences between myself and the Godhead. The differentiation is still there, of course. There remains both an "ontological abyss" between myself and God and also the transcendence of this very abyss. "Tat tvam asi" has the potential for both true and erroneous interpretation. For I am not my own Source, though I am from and of the Source, united through emanation.
"Eleven to kill the Ten." But Oroboros will be reborn as Spiral."

Also:

"
"Nay more, if we must boldly speak the truth, the true 'man' is e'en higher than the gods, or at the [very] least the gods and men are very whit in power each with the other equal. For no one of the gods in heaven shall come down to the earth, o'er-stepping heaven's limit; whereas man doth mount up to heaven and measure it; he knows what things of it are high, what things are low, and learns precisely all things else besides. And greater thing than all; without e'en quitting earth, he doth ascend above. So vast a sweep doth he possess of ecstasy. For this cause can a man dare say that man on earth is god subject to death, while god in heaven is man from death immune."
- Corpus Hermeticum, X: "The Key"
"For He became Man that we might be made God."
- Athanasius of Alexandria, De Incarnatione Verbi Dei, LIV.
"Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?"
- I Corinthians 6:3"
https://www.facebook.com/gwhedhu.terrtagn
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Deepfriar on Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:51 pm

It is said in the interview that it is not a "Christian" project and that not all band members are even necessarily Christians. However, frontman Elijah is very open about his Christian faith and I took the 'mystical' and 'esoteric' layers of the band to be simply part of the art project, executed in a bit of a fanciful way to further explore and augment the atmosphere of the music itself.

This is a fantastic release and I can't wait to get it in the mail.
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Devon Hill on Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:10 pm

Is there an interview or somewhere online where he talks about his Christian faith?  Clearly I can't speak for Elijah, but it's clear from his facebook page that this esoteric and mystical side of the music is not just a part of the art project itself.  That is the way he speaks in person and believes when it's not tied to the music too.  The quotes I provided above were from his personal facebook page, not from the band's page.

Again no disrespect, but quotes like this are not orthodox:

"For He became Man that we might be made God."
- Athanasius of Alexandria, De Incarnatione Verbi Dei, LIV.

Also alchemy is not Christian.  It might use Christian terminology in some things, but the beliefs mix in other spiritual concepts not compatible with Christianity.
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Deepfriar on Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:37 am

I'm not sure how you can know that the mystical aesthetic is not just part of the overall art. Just because someone does something on Facebook doesn't mean that it's not part of their project. Maybe you should message him and ask him point blank what he believes about Jesus Christ.

Here in the link to the interview:
http://www.invisibleoranges.com/panegyrist-hierurgy/
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by xMetalMarkx on Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:25 am

This project is basically Elijah's vehicle.  He professes an orthodox faith (lowercase "o"), personally, and discusses it in the Invisible Oranges interview.  That interview is, to me, as interesting as the album!  The music goes a bit further into the outfield than Prometheus...-era Emperor.  Proceed according to the Spirit's leading and your musical tastes.
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Devon Hill on Tue Jun 12, 2018 11:22 am

To clarify, I was simply saying his personal facebook says (with abundance) the same thing as the album.  Which is fairly good evidence to say the lyrics fall within his personal beliefs.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Thanks for sharing the interview.  It was interesting and good to read.  I can't say I agree with some of it (especially trying to incorporate alchemy into it).

He says in the interview, "Hermetic alchemy, which is deeply connected to most forms of Western esotericism, also ushers in quite a bit of Christian language and symbolism, though, again, this does not necessarily equate with dogmatic compatibility on all levels."

Also: "
Lyrically, I’m not interested in regurgitating “safe” theological formulations or Christian metal cliches about fighting demons or what have you. It’s all about inversion and transformation. Hence, the abundance of paradox and alchemical language."

Here is a description of Hermeticism from the internet for those that are interested:

"Hermeticism claims to be an ancient philosophy that predates all religions and from which all religions stem. Hermes Thrice-Great is believed to be an ancient deity associated with the earliest dynasties of Egypt. On the Temple of Esna, to Thoth, there is an inscription that says, “Thoth, the great, the great, the great,” which may be the first instance of the thrice-great name. Some Jewish traditions teach that Abraham was taught by Hermes, and some Christian writers in the past believed that Hermes Trismegistus was a pagan prophet who foretold the coming of Christianity. The writings attributed to him, called the Hermetica or Hermetic Corpus are pseudepigraphal—that is, they were written by someone other than the purported author. This collection of wisdom texts about the divine, the cosmos, the mind, nature, alchemy, and astrology is dated to around the first century AD. Followers of Hermeticism in ancient times were alchemists and magicians or sorcerers." 
https://www.gotquestions.org/Hermeticism.html


Also alchemy:

"
Alchemy has always been about more than just finding the right combination of chemicals; from the beginning, alchemy involved a philosophical and religious pursuit of hidden wisdom. Alchemy is often associated with Hermeticism, a pagan religion that purports to have the most ancient, most desirable wisdom. Other influences within alchemy are astrology, numerology, Kabbalah, and Rosicrucianism. Alchemists were not just proto-chemists and early metallurgists; they were magicians, mystics, and sorcerers.

Alchemy sought to transform more than metal. It also had a goal of spiritual transformation, purifying the spirit, expanding the consciousness, and touching the divine. That is, alchemists sought to turn the “lead” of the human soul into the “gold” of an enlightened being. In fact, alchemy promotes the belief that only those who have achieved a higher consciousness—those who have attained insight into the mysteries of the universe—are capable of effecting transmutation of earthly things.

Alchemy relies heavily on dreams and visions and altered states of consciousness to procure esoteric “wisdom.” Various symbols and talismans are thought to be imbued with much power. The ultimate goal of alchemy is sometimes referred to as “the philosopher’s stone,” a condensation of a secret substance that will change common metal into gold and, more importantly, bring immortality, enlightenment, and perfection to the possessor of the stone."
https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-alchemy.html
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Kerrick on Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:08 pm

Thanks Devon for the info.  I'm somewhat picky when it comes to "Christian music's" lyrics and definitely want to look further into these guys before I purchase their album.

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Deepfriar on Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:38 pm

Here's another quote from the interview, and my primary basis for thinking that the mystical elements are mostly 'for show' (like much of black metal's shenanigans):

"My dogma means that there are a number of core things on which I refuse to compromise. I am a creedally orthodox Christian. The Nicene Creed lays out some of the foundational non-negotiables. I speak these affirmations liturgically every week. I consume and drink the body and blood of my Lord every week. I have passed through the mercury of death in the initiatory waters of baptism. And these things change me. The cycles of repetition, remembrance, and affirmation — alongside moments of the Divine Presence breaking in and altering my world — solidify and individuate me more with each passing day. In short, I am in love."
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by strangerhoncho on Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:16 pm

That's just about the most powerful statement of faith I've ever heard from a Christian, musician or otherwise.

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by exo on Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:44 pm

Posted on the Panegyrist FB Page about an hour ago....


“A message from Elijah.

It's happened. During the last couple of weeks in particular, the "Christian black metal" tag has been increasingly attached to Panegyrist, and it's something we wish to address. Personally, I had hoped our release would largely fly under the radar of the Christian scene, but I suppose that was a naive thing to presume. None of us are invested in the Christian black metal world, and it is a misrepresentation of our work to have people claim it as part of this. We would like to be clear: we are incredibly thankful for such enthusiastic support from listeners and review sites, so this is not a message of ungratefulness. However, if you do truly respect and enjoy our work, we ask that you interact with it on its own terms, not through a convenient lens afforded by a catchphrase.

Here follow some personal reflections. It's been a long time since I had any strong association with the Christian black metal world. I certainly owe a lot to a number of bands who were/are associated, but I've also felt an increasing disconnect. As it now stands, I'm fairly well connected with the world of esoteric black metal, and it's within this context that the vision for Panegyrist took shape. When people mention our music alongside things like Antestor and Horde, I don't think we fit. I mean no disrespect, but we're just aiming to do somewhat different things. Without accusing the bands themselves, I think part of the problem is that the Christian scene as a whole wants to claim things as their own. When a band can safely be identified as "Christian," it becomes another useful magic bullet in arguments about whether Christian black metal is relevant or of a certain caliber. This draws attention away from whatever inner core of honest, transformative, mystical impulse may be present. Furthermore, Christian black metal is usually expected to be "safe" according to certain boundaries. It is not generally meant to deeply challenge and unsettle people as they grapple with the paradoxes and perplexities that come with seeking a wholly integrated religious life-path. To our Christian fans, I am very grateful for your support, but I also want to give this warning: don't expect what we do to be safe. Jesus Christ, as known both personally and through the lens of creedal orthodoxy, is the cornerstone upon whom my ritual art is built—but this does not mean that my expressions are going to be comfortable or easily resolved. In fact, they could easily be seriously misconstrued. And I don't encourage most to follow this shadowy path anyway: pitfalls lie at every turn.

Regarding black metal. I've said before that I don't even fully consider Panegyrist to be a black metal band. This is not because I buy into simplistic arguments about how "black metal by definition can't be Christian." No, there is a Blackness that can and must be expressed by Christians, and I genuinely believe that it is possible to create harrowing works of numinous, burning darkness not IN SPITE of Christianity, but BECAUSE of it. It's been a very long time since I saw black metal as "just another genre." The reason I don't consider Panegyrist to be part of black metal proper is because it simply has a different feeling, a different inflection. It's related to black metal, but not operating fully within that current. Of all the band members, I'm also the one who most deeply embraces the idea of black metal as religious holy work—but that's me, and I don't want to misrepresent who we are as a collective. Collectively, we have other interests, many of which would be anathematized in serious black metal circles. And that's fine. I'd rather not pretend to be something we're not.

Enough with easy categorizations; they create cognitive shortcuts in assimilating information, but they often hinder nous and kardia from truly engaging in sacramental spiritual art.

Do you see the Black Work and what must follow? This path, both serpentine and unwavering, through astral darkness and abyssal light. From Leviathan's belly, the inversion that conquers the world.

- Elijah”

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Kerrick on Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:56 pm

Haha he probably saw this thread.

Thanks for sharing Exo.  That was an extremely thoughtful and insightful response from Elijah.  I'm not sure what all to make of it, but my hat's off to him for addressing it all.

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by strangerhoncho on Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:48 pm

He's a pretty brilliant guy.  Hard to follow at times by my more mundane mind, but I dig what I understand him to be saying.  It is too bad that he will be pigeon-holed and probably lose the ability to have a career in the wider black metal scene, but maybe their art will continue to be awesome enough to overcome that.

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by xMetalMarkx on Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:09 pm

I agree completely with his assertion that easy categorizations create cognitive shortcuts, but I thought the music and aesthetic was too well developed to not tell anyone else about it.  Given the binary layout of the CMR, I posted it here...maybe this discussion thread can/should be moved to the "Non-Christian" section?
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by eatbugs on Thu Jun 14, 2018 2:23 am

Thanks, exo!  That statement makes me want this even more.

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Deepfriar on Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:08 am

xMetalMarkx wrote:I agree completely with his assertion that easy categorizations create cognitive shortcuts, but I thought the music and aesthetic was too well developed to not tell anyone else about it.  Given the binary layout of the CMR, I posted it here...maybe this discussion thread can/should be moved to the "Non-Christian" section?
Yes, I agree, should be moved. It is not a 'Christian' project.
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by Mysterious Gamer Dude on Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:20 am

I love Black Metal!!!!! And oh man I am super pumped to listen to this. Love the seriphem and all of the mystic details in the artwork!
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by eatbugs on Sat Jul 28, 2018 10:25 pm

New interview.  He discusses the "Christian black metal" issue at length.

https://www.indymetalvault.com/2018/07/27/an-interview-with-panegyrist/

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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

Post by elManique on Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:39 am

Came across this album in a Bandcamp roundup. I appreciate the quality, but the sound is too exhausting for my ears, it's a funny combination of chaotic and smooth, the bass is everywhere. The Ophidian Crucifix song works really well though.
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Re: PANEGYRIST: progged-out black metal akin to late-era Emperor, taken further!

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