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Panopticon is a Black Metal band from Minnesota (formerly Louisville, KY) consisting of Austin Lunn. The band has attracted considerable notoriety in recent years for two factors making the band fairly unique in the crowded field of black metal: Lunn's earnest anarchism, and the substantial bluegrass influence on much of Panopticon's music, which gives the band a unique, distinctly American sound in a genre in which many bands have simply been accused of aping the sound of Norwegian second-wave bands. Those are hardly the only things that make the band notable, however, and Lunn has built a substantial discography with Panopticon and as a member of several other bands (including Throndt, Falls of Rauros, Seidr, and Kólga) that has built him quite a reputation.


Panopticon's style tends to vary substantially from release to release, but listeners can generally expect a rather large amount of Epic Rocking. Other genres that have been known to influence Panopticon, besides the ones listed above, include Shoegaze, Hardcore Punk, Crust Punk, Progressive Rock, Post-Rock, and Melodic Death Metal.

Lunn began performing Panopticon's material live with a four-person backing band in 2016. The live shows have generally been highly acclaimed.

The official Bandcamp site, where you may stream very nearly the band's entire discographynote  for free or purchase each release for a small fee, is here. For the identically named album by Isis (both are named after Jeremy Bentham's concept for a prison), see Isis.



  • Panopticon (2008)
  • It's Later Than You Think (2009, split with Wheels Within Wheels)
  • Collapse (2009; reissued on vinyl in 2010 with a bonus track featuring Rob "The Baron" Miller of Amebix)
  • Lake of Blood/Panopticon (2009, split)
  • ...On the Subject of Mortality (2010)
    • Panopticon/When Bitter Spring Sleeps (2010, split; includes first half of ...OtSoM)
    • Skagos/Panopticon (2010, split; includes second half of ...OtSoM)
  • Wheels Within Wheels/Panopticon II (2011, split)
  • Social Disservices (2011)
  • Kentucky (2012)
  • Vestiges/Panopticon (2013, split)
  • Brotherhood (2014, split with Falls of Rauros)
  • Roads to the North (2014)
  • Autumn Eternal (2015)
  • Panopticon/Waldgeflüster (2016, split)
  • Revisions of the Past (2016, anthology containing remastered versions of ...On the Subject of Mortality and Social Disservices)
  • "Sheep in Wolves' Clothing" (2017, single)
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  • The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (2018)
  • The Crescendo of Dusk (2019)note 
  • ...Scars II (The Basics) (2019)note 
  • Nechochwen/Panopticon (2020, split)
  • Panopticon/Aerial Ruin (2020, split)
  • Beast Rider (2020, EP)
  • Live Migration (2020, live)
  • ...And Again into the Light (2021)


  • Album Intro Track: Several albums have them, including (depending upon how you define the trope) the self-titled, the Lake of Blood split, Kentucky, Autumn Eternal and The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness. The "collapsed" version of "...Speaking..." on It's Later Than You Think has some of the hallmarks of an album intro track, but is longer than the metal track that follows it, so it could be considered a bizarre inversion of this trope in some ways. Meanwhile, Vestiges' side of their split with Panopticon has "VII", which effectively serves as the intro to the much heavier "VIII".
  • All There in the Manual: The original release of the self-titled album included essays that further explained the concepts behind the songs. In some cases, these were longer than the lyrics themselves (particularly "Emma's Song", whose accompanying essay was roughly three pages long). Most other full-length albums and a few of the splits also have text from Lunn explaining their concepts, even if the lyrics aren't printed (as of 2018, Kentucky was the last release to feature printed lyrics).
  • Ambient: The traditional folk song "Black Waters" is reimagined as an example of this genre on Kentucky
  • Anarchy Is Chaos: Completely averted, naturally. If anything, the trope could be said to be inverted; Collapse suggests that the abuses of capitalism and government may cause the collapse of society.
  • Artistic License – Economics: Not on the band's part, but the sample of Glenn Beck at the start of "The Death of Baldr and the Coming War" makes the mistake of treating government finance like household finance. As Paul Krugman explains, this metaphor is broken on several levels, not least of which is that governments don't face the same level of obligations to repay debt swiftly that individuals do. Much of the debt is debt America owes to itself, and the debt to foreign countries is balanced out by the fact that America's government also controls shares in other countries' debt to about a 9 to 10 ratio. Also, the entire premise of the metaphor is completely inaccurate; private individuals and households take on debt to finance major purchases all the time, with student loans, home mortgages, auto loans, and home equity lines of credit being some of the most commonplace. It's unlikely that Lunn's choice of sample was intended to be complimentary to Beck, though the album could be considered something of a thought experiment asking what could have happened if the doom and gloom from the samples were actually correct and the country truly had been headed to collapse (hence the album title).
  • Bilingual Bonus: Several samples in ...On the Subject of Mortality, being from The Seventh Seal, are in Swedish. Apart from that, "La passione di Sacco & Vanzetti", befitting its subjects, is in Italian, and at least some song titles from The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness are in Norwegian (and some of the lyrics seem to be as well, though someone who actually speaks the language may wish to confirm this).
  • Black Metal: Panopticon's primary style.
  • Bluegrass: Shows up on parts of It's Later Than You Thinknote , Collapsenote , Kentuckynote , Roads to the Northnote , Autumn Eternalnote , the Waldgeflüster splitnote , The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wildernessnote , and the Aerial Ruin splitnote . Overall, Kentucky, The Scars of Man, and the Aerial Ruin split probably have the largest amount of it.
  • Boléro Effect: Several songs establish a harmonic motif with clean guitars before moving into blasting black metal sections with the same riff or chord progression. "The Death of Baldr and the Coming War" is a good example.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Also averted. "The Ghosts of Haymarket Square" deconstructs the reaction to the Haymarket massacre.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Most albums have at least one of these. To name a few representative examples: the bluegrass coda of "The Death of Baldr and the Coming War", the acoustic instrumental break on "Merkstave", the bluegrass/folk songs on Kentucky, "The Long Road Part I: One Last Fire..." and "Norwegian Nights" on Roads to the North. There are many, many more.
    • The Scars of Man on the Nameless Wilderness is, at least in part, a lament for the decline of this trope's existence in real life. Lunn observes in the album's lengthy liner notes that he values silence and solitude, but the digital age has made those increasingly difficult to obtain.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: In particular, Collapse suggests that capitalist excess will cause a collapse of society, while Kentucky is almost entirely an account of the environmental and labour abuses inherent in coal mining. However, due to Lunn's belief that Humanity Is Flawed, it can be argued that his view of capitalism is more or less of abuse by society than the system itself.
    • The song "Flag Burner, Torch Bearer" from the self-titled has some very negative remarks on capitalism, to say the least.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: "A Letter". The lyrics haven't been officially released and the vocals are too low in the mix to make out all of them, but there's clearly quite a bit of this in it.
  • Concept Album: Collapse, ...On the Subject of Mortality, Social Disservices, Kentucky, Roads to the North, Autumn Eternal (the latter three of which make up a trilogy of thematically related albums), and The Scars of Man on the Nameless Wilderness all qualify - in short, every full-length album except the first. Many of them are about Exactly What It Says on the Tin, but for further information:
    • Collapse speculates as to what would happen if society were to collapse.
    • ...On the Subject of Mortality is a rumination on death and religion.
    • Social Disservices examines the abuses of the foster care system.
    • Kentucky is a history of the labour activism surrounding coal mining in the eponymous state.
    • Roads to the North and Autumn Eternal are challenging, because Lunn hasn't released the lyrics due to their personal nature, but he has explicitly confirmed that they make up parts two and three of a trilogy with Kentucky. He has suggested that Roads to the North addresses the factors surrounding his move to Minnesota in some fashion, however.
    • The lyrics to The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness haven't been released, either, but all eighteen songs have explanatory text addressing their concepts and meanings, and since many of the lyrics (particularly all of those on the second half) are sung or spoken rather than screamed, they're less impenetrable. Overall, the album is a rumination on humanity's impact on nature, as well as the difficulty of finding privacy, solitude, and silence in the digital age.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: "Come All Ye Coal Miners" referred to the singer being "a coal miner's wife" in the original version. Lunn naturally changed this in his cover (to "son").
  • Cover Version: Three songs on Kentucky are Lunn's covers of folk songs associated with the labour movement in Kentucky. Panopticon has also covered two songs by Amebix, "ICBM" (on the self-titled) and "The Beginning of the End" (on the vinyl version of Collapse), and one song by Suicide Nation, "Collapse & Die" (on the Vestiges split). Meanwhile, Waldgeflüster covered Panopticon's own "Norwegian Nights" on their split together, while Panopticon returned the favour by covering Waldgeflüster's "Trauerweide II".
  • Department of Child Disservices: Social Disservices is basically a whole Concept Album about this trope - it's right there in the title of the album.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: Mostly so, anyway. Shortly after launching the band, Lunn said he wasn't terribly bothered by people sharing his music, as long as they included all the album liner notes and artwork when doing so; if it helps him get his message out, he seems OK with it. He's a bit more bothered by album leaks, but that seems to be in no small part because they usually have inferior audio quality and don't have the finished artwork, in addition to throwing off schedule distribution plans that may have been locked into place months in advance. Panopticon's Bandcamp site allows you to stream almost the entire discography for free (like most Bandcamp sites), but the releases are only available as downloads for small fees (as of March 2018, the highest is US$14 for the double album The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness, followed by US$7 for Autumn Eternal, Roads to the North, each disc of Revisions of the Past, and Brotherhood; other releases, including earlier full-length albums, tend to be no more than $3-4).
  • Distinct Double Album: The first half of The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness is metal and the second half is more americana influenced, though there's elements of the other style on both sides; The whole album runs for around two hours. The two halves are available separately or as one lengthy two-CD/four-LP set.
  • Downer Ending: Kentucky, in a way - not the music itself, but the real-life subtext behind the album. The album details labour struggles in Harlan County, Kentucky (heavily sampling the film Harlan County U.S.A. to tell its story), but ultimately, the labour organising in the region fell apart, and the increasing automation of coal mining, employing the environmentally destructive practice of mountaintop removal in the process, has resulted in most of the former miners losing their often high-paying (albeit dangerous) jobs. The area is now economically devastated and tends to be culturally reactionary (though parts of the state, including Lunn's former hometown of Louisville, are more progressive). Lunn donates at least some of his profits from the album to Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, a charity that fights against mountaintop removal, but despite the media's increased focus on coal miners, it looks increasingly unlikely that trends in the region will or even can be reversed.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: Several songs. The vocals on "...Speaking..." don't enter until about halfway into the track.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • There are probably more Panopticon songs over the six-minute mark than under it. A list of examples over ten minutes in length includes:
      • Panopticon: "Flag Burner, Torch Bearer" (10:40), "I, Hedonist" (15:08), "...Speaking..." (12:51), "The Lay of Grimnir" (13:06)
      • Lake of Blood split: "La passione di Sacco & Vanzetti" (11:37)
      • It's Later Than You Think: "...Speaking...(Collapsed Version)" (10:40)
      • Collapse: "The Death of Baldr and the Coming War" (15:43), "Aptrgangr" (15:11), "Merkstave" (10:02)
      • ...On the Subject of Mortality: "Living in the Valley of the Shadow of Death" (11:29)
      • Second Wheels Within Wheels split: "The Road to Bergen" (10:33), "From Bergen to Jotunheim Forest" (10:53), "The White Mountain View" (10:57) (so, every song on it, since WWW's two songs also qualify)
      • Social Disservices: "Resident" (11:15), "Patient" (20:01)
      • Kentucky: "Bodies Under the Falls" (10:25), "Black Soot and Red Blood" (10:04), "Killing the Giants as They Sleep" (12:19) (so, all three metal songs)
      • Roads to the North: "Where Mountains Pierce the Sky" (12:43), "The Long Road" (23:28, and in three movements), "Chase the Grain" (12:14)
      • Autumn Eternal: "A Superior Lament" (11:01)
      • Waldgeflüster split: "Håkan's Song" (12:35)
      • The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness: "Snow Burdened Branches" (11:24), "The Moss Beneath the Snow" (12:16). The album as a whole also definitely qualifies, running for slightly more than two hours.
      • The Crescendo of Dusk: "The Crescendo of Dusk" (13:53)
      • Nechochwen split: "Rune's Heart" (19:45)
    • Also commonly occurs on the other side of Panopticon splits; every band Panopticon has recorded splits with has exhibited this trope at some time in their career, although not always on the split (in particular, Lake of Blood didn't really begin to delve into this trope until after their split with Panopticon). Restricting oneself purely to examples from splits that exceed ten minutes:
      • Wheels Within Wheels: "White Light Rains Down On..." (13:48), "A Burial of the Mother of Orion" (11:34), "A Splinter of Hope in the Blackest of Hearts" (13:42)
      • When Bitter Spring Sleeps: "We Cower in the Storms of Her Retribution" (11:14)
      • Skagos: "Smoldering Embers" (12:33), "Anamnesis II: A Dry, Sterile Thunder, Without Rain" (15:15)
      • Vestiges: "VIII" (13:01, though technically, "VII" is mostly an intro to "VIII"; the entire composition is 18:22)
      • Falls of Rauros: "Unavailing" (11:50)
      • Waldgeflüster: "Der Traumschänder" (12:20)
  • Ethical Hedonism: "I, Hedonist" is a look at what, exactly, hedonism even means, and ultimately concludes that the best ethical system is roughly what TV Tropes describes as this trope.
  • Fading into the Next Song/Siamese Twin Songs: Frequently.
    • Self-titled: the first four tracks; "Archetype"->"Emma's Song"
    • Collapse: "Merkstave"->"Idavoll"
    • Social Disservices: "Subject"->"Patient" (except on the original vinyl pressing, where these were split up to avoid having almost a half-hour of music on an album side)
    • Kentucky: "Bernheim Forest in Spring"->"Bodies Under the Falls"; "Come All Ye Coal Miners"->"Black Soot and Red Blood"; "Which Side Are You On?"->"Killing the Giants as They Sleep"->"Black Waters"
    • Brotherhood: "Can You Loan Me a Raven?"->"Gods of Flame"
    • Roads to the North: "The Echoes of a Disharmonic Evensong"->"Where Mountains Pierce the Sky"; the entire "The Long Road" suite; "Norwegian Nights"->"In Silence"
    • Autumn Eternal: On the CD/digital version, tracks one through four and five through eight. The vinyl version has to split the two quartets into four pairs due to LP side length limitationsnote , though by contrast, the transition between "A Superior Lament" and "The Wind's Farewell" seems to be substantially louder on the LP edition.
    • The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness: Essentially, every LP side is continuous (there are four LPs and therefore eight LP sides). The digital/CD versions may have further song transitions that couldn't be preserved on the LP edition for the same reason Autumn Eternal was cut up; someone who owns them may wish to edit this to clarify.
  • Folk Metal: Several of Panopticon's albums qualify as this in addition to being Black Metal, though they're an unusually Appalachian take on the genre due to the bluegrass influence.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Some of the song titles on The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness are in Norwegian, specifically "En hvit ravns død" ("A White Raven's Death"), "Blåtimen" ("Blue Hour"), and "En generell avsky" ("A General Disgust"). It should be noted that Lunn is of Norwegian descent.
  • Green Aesop: Many songs have environmentalist themes, particularly on Collapse, Kentucky, and The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness. Lunn has also donated some of his profits from Kentucky to a charity fighting mountaintop removal and from the Lake of Blood split to animal rights organisations.
  • I Am the Band: Panopticon is a solo project. Session musicians and guest vocalists occasionally appear, but the band has always consisted solely of Lunn (except, from 2016 onwards, in live performances).
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: Can be averted at times, which is unusual for black metal. The decipherability of the lyrics sometimes has more to do with how high the vocals are placed in the mix than it does with the screaming. The second Wheels Within Wheels split and all releases from the Vestiges split through the Waldgeflüster split haven't had their lyrics released, as Lunn feels they're too personal, but it's still possible to decipher some of the lyrics for some songs (for instance, "A Letter" addresses the hypocrisy of right-wing Christianity; "Autumn Eternal" deals with Austin's regrets over what he appears to regard as a somewhat misspent youth; and "Håkan's Song" consists of his wishes for the future of his son, after whom the song is named).
  • I, Noun: "I, Hedonist".
  • Inherent in the System: A recurring theme. A lot of the institutions Lunn depicts in his songs are corrupt because they depend upon the good behaviour of those who run them, and Humanity Is Flawed. A recurring implication is that humans can't be trusted with power over others; the way to fix these problems for good, Lunn is implying, is to increase the power people have over their own lives while decreasing the power they have over others'. (Anarchists, as well as some other groups like intersectional feminists, distinguish between "power-over", or hierarchical control over others' lives; "power-to", or personal autonomy; and "power-together", or the increased cooperative power of individuals working together toward a common goal.)
  • Instrumentals: Kentucky, Roads to the North, and Autumn Eternal have them. "Haunted America" and "To Make an Idol of Our Fear and Call It God" could be considered ones as well, since they only contain samples of speech.
  • Last Note Nightmare: "To Make an Idol of Our Fear and Call It God", one of Panopticon's softest non-folk songs, closes out with a minute of screeching guitar feedback. "Killing the Giants as They Sleep", meanwhile, starts with a section that, while still quite aggressive, has a distinctly triumphant and uplifting feel to it that leads into a serene ambient section. It then rather abruptly transitions into one of the absolute most disorienting and dissonant sections in his entire discography (though it also fades into "Black Waters", one of the most placid moments in his entire discography, making for a possible subversion). The similarly structured "Subject", however, is a good example of an inversion. It starts with probably the most brutal, terrifying and suffocating section in his entire discography, before switching to an ambient section and then moving into a highly uplifting closing section.
    • For an album example, "The Devil Walked the Woods" is a highly unsettling ending to The Scars of Man, particularly given that the second half of the album was mostly serene ballads up to that point. It's not actually any heavier than the surrounding material (in fact, it's lighter than the preceding song in terms of instrumentation), but its mood is dark.
  • Live Album: Live Migration, which incidentally is the only Panopticon release thus far on which anyone other than Lunn is credited as an official band member.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: "Patient" (20:10) closes Social Disservices, and "Snow Burdened Branches" (11:43) closes The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness, Part I. Also inverted in some cases; Collapse opens with "The Death of Baldr and the Coming War'' (15:50) and (except on the vinyl edition) closes with "Idavoll" (5:03), thus making it an inversion twice over. If splits count for this trope, then "Rune's Heart", which at 19:45 closes out the Nechochwen split and is almost as long as Nechochwen's side combined, also counts.
  • Long Runner Lineup: It was founded in 2007 and has been Lunn's solo project the whole time, though obviously, live shows involve other musicians. There have also been occasional guest performers on Panopticon records (most frequently, violinist Johan Becker, who also was a member of the touring lineup for a while), but they're always credited as session performers rather than as band members.
  • Long Title: "La passione di Sacco & Vanzetti", "The Ghosts of Haymarket Square", "The Death of Baldr and the Coming War", "Living in the Valley of the Shadow of Death", "To Make an Idol of Our Fear and Call It God", "Killing the Giants as They Sleep", "Through Mountains I Wander This Evening", "The Echoes of a Dissonant Evensong", "Where Mountains Pierce the Sky", "Sleep to the Sound of the Waves Crashing", The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness, "A Ridge Where the Tall Pines Once Stood", "Not Much Will Change When I'm Gone", "(Cowering) at the Foot of the Mountain"...
  • Loudness War: Averted. Panopticon's least dynamic record (the CD of Collapse) still comes in at DR7 (the LP was given a separate mastering that was more dynamic). Most of them are around DR10, and many of the splits have even more dynamic range (the Wheels Within Wheels splits average out at about DR12 and some tracks on On the Subject of Mortality reach up to DR15). The sole case of this trope being played straight in Panopticon's discography seems to be the track "La passione di Sacco & Vanzetti" from the Lake of Blood split, which comes out at DR5, but due to the other track on that split, "Haunted America", coming out at DR15 Panopticon's side of the split overall still comes out to DR9.
  • Melodic Death Metal: A noted influence on the metal parts of Roads to the North.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: The metal portions are usually a 9 or a 10, while the acoustic portions go as low as 1. "Subject" arguably hits 11 for a good chunk of its running time, as do a few other portions of Social Disservices (especially the remastered version, due to greater clarity of heavier elements).note 
  • Mood Whiplash: Used to great effect on Kentucky, where bluegrass songs fade directly into black metal songs. Other albums employ this often as well.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Applies to most of the songs
  • Not Afraid to Die: "Black Soot and Red Blood" contains a sample of a woman saying, "I'm ready to die. Are you?"
  • Post-Rock: A major influence on nearly all of Lunn's work. He has named Godspeed You! Black Emperor as one of his favourite artists, so this should not be a surprise. The second half of The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness could almost be considered a post-bluegrass album; it frequently melds the song structures of post-rock with bluegrass instrumentation.
  • Progressive Rock: A major influence on "The Long Road" suite among other pieces.
  • Protest Song: Several songs could qualify, but the most Anvilicious is "Flag Burner, Torch Bearer", which, per Word of God, was deliberately intended to be an Author Tract. With the possible exception of "...Speaking...", the others tend to be examples of Tranquil Fury by comparison (as much as black metal can be, anyway).
  • Pun-Based Title: Social Disservices, a pun on social services and disservice.
  • Questioning Title?: "Which Side Are You On?" and "Can You Loan Me a Raven?"
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • "...Speaking...(Collapsed Version)" is a bluegrass rendition of a metal song from the first album.
    • ...Scars II (The Basics) features stripped-down arrangements of the songs from The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness Part II featuring only Austin's acoustic guitar and voice, essentially turning many of them from bluegrass songs into folk songs. Some of them get quite a different atmosphere as a result; for instance, "The Devil Walked the Woods" feels a bit less sinister.
    • On Beast Rider, he rearranged the title track (originally from The Scars of Man) and "Norwegian Nights" (from Roads to the North) into a sort of Post-Rock style. The original versions were both acoustic.
  • Recurring Riff: Maybe not quite to the level of "riff", but harmonic elements of "Autumn Eternal" reappear in "A Superior Lament".
  • Remaster: Revisions of the Past provides an unambiguously beneficial version of this trope; as with all of Panopticon's music, it is free from Loudness War shenanigans, and the instrumental clarity of the new versions is vastly improved. The only caveat is that the vinyl edition was pressed on only two records, meaning that the fourth side runs for twenty-nine and a half minutes; this was no doubt done to preserve the gapless song transition on that side, but with the downside of increasing the noise floor (pressing the album on three records would have prevented any side from having more than twenty minutes of music on it, thus keeping the noise floor lower).
  • Religion Rant Song: Insofar as it’s possible to make out the lyrics, “A Letter” appears to be a Take That! to right-wing Christianity. ...On the Subject of Mortality and some songs on the self-titled album also explore aspects of religion, but don’t really qualify as rants (except maybe “I, Hedonist” and "Message to the Missionary"). Lunn hasn’t been particularly vocal about his own religious beliefs (if he even has them), but has spoken positively of some aspects of traditional Nordic paganism, noting that, while not perfect, it was often more progressive on issues like women’s rights than many of its contemporaries were; for example, divorce laws were fairly liberal, so while first marriages were often arranged, women were often allowed to divorce and marry suitors of their choosing later, whereas women in other cultures could end up stuck with partners who didn’t respect their rights and with no option to escape.
  • Rousing Speech: A particularly stirring example is sampled from Harlan County U.S.A. in "Black Soot and Red Blood".
  • Sampling: Occurs commonly in Panopticon tracks. Examples include "I, Hedonist", "The Death of Baldr and the Coming War", "Haunted America", and nearly all of ...On the Subject of Mortality and Kentucky (samples are frequently taken from The Seventh Seal and Harlan County U.S.A., respectively).
  • Self-Titled Album: The début.
  • Shoegaze: Several songs on ...On the Subject of Mortality are influenced by this genre, most notably "..Seeing..". The second Wheels Within Wheels split also bears a lot of influence from this genre, and it shows up in some other Panopticon songs too.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Emma's Song" is about and is named after the anarchist Emma Goldman. Much of the song concerns her views on patriarchy and marriage, and is in some respects Lunn's analysis of the evolution of marriage through the centuries (he particularly addresses Nordic marriage customs of marriage in a lengthy essay included with the original pressing of the album, which, as he notes, were significantly more progressive on women's rights than many other Western traditions of marriage).
    • "Blåtimen" is dedicated to Windir's Valfar (Terje Bakken), who died of hypothermia in 2004.
  • Show, Don't Tell: In a sense, the samples the band employs often have this effect - for instance, on Kentucky, Lunn lets miners recount their experiences at some length instead of repackaging their stories second-hand. Social Disservices employs a similar technique without samples; it gets quite descriptive about the abuses inherent in the foster system rather than simply saying "the foster system sucks".
  • Sinister Surveillance: The band is named after Jeremy Bentham's concept for a prison, which was later expanded by Michel Foucault to apply to the modern "disciplinary" society in that hierarchical structures such as the army, the factory, the hospital, and the school have all evolved to fit Bentham's concept of a panopticon. Needless to say, this is a fitting name for an anarchist band.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Somehow manages to occupy both ends at the same time. Lunn is very clear-eyed about the problems in society, and that a lot of this is because Humans Are Flawed. But at the same time, there's also a hope that things won't be this way forever, and that humanity can do better.
  • Sliding Scale of Libertarianism and Authoritarianism: On the other hand, firmly at the libertarian (anarchist, to be more precise) end.
  • Slut-Shaming: Lunn denounces the Double Standard inherent in this trope in the accompanying essay to “Emma’s Song”.
  • Song Style Shift: In particular, "The Death of Baldr and the Coming War" has two - one from the Post-Rock intro into black metal, and then another about two-thirds of the way through into bluegrass. Other songs also employ these.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Lunn usually uses the Metal Scream expected of black metal vocalists, but he can also sing very well. However, the two vocal techniques were not used in the same song until the second Wheels Within Wheels split (this is also done in "In Silence" on Roads to the North as well as "Pale Ghosts" and "A Superior Lament" on Autumn Eternal).
  • Spoken Word in Music: Occurs frequently, usually overlapping with sampling. See above. "Merkstave" contains an example that is not a sample; it's a reading from Henry David Thoreau.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: "I, Hedonist" has elements of this (though it's definitely not a dance song). A particularly amusing moment is near the end when one of the samples, probably cut up, says, "The Bible plainly states fornication and adultery are exciting."
  • Subdued Section: Since Panopticon is a very dynamic band, many of its songs have these.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: "...Speaking...(Collapsed Version)", "Idavoll", "To Make an Idol of Our Fear and Call It God", most of the songs on Wheels Within Wheels/Panopticon II, over half the songs on Kentucky, "The Long Road, Pt. I: One Last Fire...", "Norwegian Nights", "Tamarack's Gold Returns", "Trauerweide II", "The Labyrinth" possibly others. Not to mention pretty much the entire second half of The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness. Arguably common enough that this trope doesn't really apply anymore.
  • Take That!: Lunn has sampled right-wingers with whom he obviously doesn't agree in certain songs; his inclusion of the samples is generally intended to deconstruct their views. The most notable examples are "I, Hedonist" (though not every sample in the song is used for this purpose; there are also samples of LGBT people voicing support of marriage equality) and "The Death of Baldr and the Coming War".
    • "The Itch" on The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness is directly addressed to Donald Trump, though in a way it also disparages his significance (which he might plausibly find to be the most insulting part of the song) by stating that he's merely a symptom of a larger problem in American society rather than the cause of those problems ("You are just a symptom of an inherited disease"). At the same time, it also takes aim at the polarisation of American politics, which Lunn argues has resulted in people blaming others for their own problems rather than taking responsibility for them and, in some ways, may have contributed directly to Trump's rise in the first place. The lyrics also avoid ever saying Trump's name, though it's obvious that most of the song is directly addressed to him. (It's possible that his name was omitted deliberately as an oblique reference to a news report stating that Trump became more interested in briefings when his name was mentioned, but this has not been confirmed.)
  • Tomato in the Mirror: "The Devil Walked the Woods" ends with the revelation that the narrator is the Devil. The "mirror" part is quite literal, by the way.
  • Translated Cover Version: Panopticon's version of Waldgeflüster's "Trauerweide II" is in English. (The band name, for the curious, is German for "Forest Whispers", while "Trauerweide" means "Weeping Willow".)
  • Uncommon Time: The second half of "The Long Road, Pt. II: Capricious Miles" is in 7/4, as are both the opening and closingnote  of "The Crescendo of Dusk".
  • A World Half Full: The general outlook of Panopticon's music. Humanity Is Flawed, but there's hope that one day we'll do better.

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