Panopticon is the sophomore album from HELLBORE, the death metal outfit striding both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. The new record marks an evolution in their sound expanding their scope from thrash infused death, now embracing a variety of modern death metal subgenres including technical death metal, progressive death metal, and deathcore.
“This album is a big step for us, and we are really excited for people to hear what we have put together. This has been a difficult couple of years for many people. “Panopticon” takes aim at many of these struggles, and we hope it can provide a degree of catharsis. We hope you enjoy your time listening to it as much as we enjoyed creating it.”
Following their debut album Holy Sadist released in 2019, Panopticon features creative sonic storytelling, technical guitar madness, a barrage of extreme vocal styles, and immaculate production. From the dramatic, orchestral fuelled opening track “Libertus” to the epic “Panopticon” in three chapters, the new album is a dark, immersive experience. Guttural screams and demonic vocals enshroud the atmosphere with a haunting twist, while hard hitting instrumentation and marching rhythms manifest a powerful heaviness. Introducing technical guitars in “All Men Are Created Evil” and an unexpected jazz section in “Terror Eyes”, HELLBORE have have grappled with charismatic musical styles and developed them seamlessly into their sound.
Panopticon delivers a thrilling exploration of themes such as extremism, media control, religious fundamentalism, and social engineering. Facing the difficult experiences of endurance head on, the album brings an emotional liberation with an immense sound.
Musicwebzine – Hi there, first of all, tell us something about the band
Hellbore – Hellbore started back in 2019 as an entirely online project between myself and Chris Whitby. We met as a result of uploading cover songs to a Facebook group, and ended up deciding to collaborate on a death metal project. That project was our debut EP released at the end of 2019 “Holy Sadist”. Since then we have been working on our first full length “Panopticon”!
Musicwebzine – Which is the main theme of your album ?
Hellbore – There are a few different themes that the album explores but I guess the main one would be societal manipulation. Broadly speaking, the use of fear or coercion by the powers that be in order to create what they deem to be the ideal society.
Musicwebzine – What about the cover and the title of your album ?
Hellbore – The album title “Panopticon” refers to conceptual prison, in which there is a single central tower surrounded by the prison cells. Inside the tower, the guards can watch the prisoners, but the prisoners cannot see the guards. Therefore, the prisoners have no idea if they are actually being watched. This idea in principle I find fascinating, but it also has modern-day parallels with things like social media. Specifically, the fear of being seen to be a dissident online. This fear influences the way you behave, and the way others behave as a result, and it is all in service of the world companies like Facebook want to artificially manufacture.
The cover is a fantastic piece by Timon Kokott, which I really love because it has a kind of fantasy-style “venture into the unknown” vibe about it. Something about it also feels very ominous and threatening, which I felt was a perfect juxtaposition for the album.
Musicwebzine – Which bands has influenced your sound ?
Hellbore – There are definitely a few bands that have influenced us! Primarily I would say modern death metal such as Aborted, progressive metal bands such as Ne Obliviscaris, the raw energy of bands like Cattle Decapitation and Archspire, and the meat-and-potatoes riff gods such as Dyscarnate and Revocation. Add a sprinkling of symphonic stylings from bands like Shadow of Intent and Fleshgod Apocalypse and you should have an idea of how we reached our sound!
Musicwebzine – Do you think you can still live only on music?
Hellbore – I definitely do not think a band can live solely on music. Of course, there are exceptions like the big boys but for 99% of people this isn’t possible. Luckily with the internet being the incredible tool that it is, there are so many options for musicians to have alternate streams of income that don’t necessarily require a traditional part-time job.
Musicwebzine – That’s all!! greeted our readers with a message!
Hellbore – Thanks for checking out the interview, and we hope you enjoy our album Panopticon!