Biography

Pantheïst was brought to life in the year 2000 by vocalist and keyboard player Kostas Panagiotou. Following various unofficial recordings, the ‘1000 Years’ demo was released in 2001, leaving its imprint on the underground, and in the process helping to solidify what is now known as Funeral Doom Metal. The demo so impressed Finland’s Firebox records that Pantheïst was offered a recording contract straight away. The result was the release of ‘O Solitude’ in 2003. The band’s debut full-length album injected unusual and fresh elements in funeral doom such as orchestral arrangements, varied tempos, moods and dynamics. It is still hailed as a genre cornerstone today. As testament to the band’s ethos of hard work, they soon embarked on their first European tour (and first funeral doom tour ever) with Finnish doom stalwarts SKEPTICISM and label mates UNTIL DEATH OVERTAKES ME. They also toured with WHILE HEAVEN WEPT and MOURNING BELOVETH in the following year.

A new chapter in the band’s history was opened following its relocation from Belgium to the UK in 2004. The band reformed itself showing much resilience and flexibility. That resilience was solidified with the release of the band’s sophomore album ‘Amartia’ and ‘The Pains of Sleep’ EP in 2005. Both releases were recorded at The Lodge Studios, owned and run by Robert John Godfrey (of 70s Prog giants THE ENID / BARCLAY JAMES HARVEST). ‘Amartia’ was the band’s first fully concept-based album, inspired by liturgical and religious themes, and ‘The Pains of Sleep’ further developed Pantheïst’s increasingly progressive leanings, while simultaneously keeping a strong foothold in their underground sound.

2008 saw the band’s third full-length for Firebox Records, ‘Journey through Lands Unknown’, recorded and mixed at Greg Chandler’s (ESOTERIC) Priory Recording studios. The result of 18 months of arduous work and serious musical and spiritual exploration, the album harked back to the more personal themes found in the band’s earlier material. Musically, it was the band’s most complex and layered yet accessible and engaging album; one which, in its daring stance towards genre boundaries and refusal to conform to expectations, managed to polarize opinion yet still reaped shining reviews and gained new admirers. The band’s reputation as a live act was further cemented with severalshows around the UK and abroad, which culminated on a second and highly successful co-headlining tour with old friends SKEPTICISM and supported by OPHIS.

The band enjoyed their first foray into Eastern Europe in 2009, on a mini-tour of the Czech Republic and Poland in the company of Polish underground legends GALLILEOUS and Czech atmospheric doom heavyweights DISSOLVING OF PRODIGY. Both these bands were invited in turn to join Pantheïst in a multinational doom metal gig in London, and the friendship between the three bands was sealed with the conceptual split album ‘Unveiling the Signs’, released in 2010 by Polish underground label Redrum666.

Pantheïst’s fourth, a self-titled album, was released through Grau Records in 2011. True to their singular philosophy, the band continued to look ahead adding new elements to their music, this time exploring progressive rock themes as well as the occasional ‘pop’ and ‘classic rock’ elements. Despite the daring changes, the band’s evolution has been likened to that of bands such as ANATHEMA and KATATONIA and praised for its unrelenting drive to explore new pathways without losing sight of the basic ingredients of its earlier sound. The album led to a brief appearance in a UK Channel 4 TV show, a memorable and now legendary gig with Skepticism at St Giles in the Fields church in London (organized by the band itself) and a professional videoclip for the track ‘Be Here’ filmed on location in Roeselare (Belgium) by young talented Belgian director Alexander Decommere. Several international shows were also played alongside artists as diverse as CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX, IMMORTAL and ATARAXIE and Pantheïst were featured very heavily in Zero Tolerance’s tribute to the anniversary edition of the Portuguese SWR festival, where the band performed in 2012.

Bearing the title ‘Seeking Infinity’ the album’s fifth full-length album was released in September 2018 by Melancholic Realm Productions (CD) and The Vinyl Division (LP). The band’s second conceptual album after ‘Amartia’, it is based on a story written by founder Kostas Panagiotou, which is accompanied by its own soundtrack, consisting of collaborations with various external musicians and artists. That soundtrack was released in the autumn of 2016 by Kostas Panagiotou as a solo fundraising EP entitled ‘Chapters’. ‘Seeking Infinity’ was a return to the band’s funeral doom roots, while still encompassing many of the progressive elements which appeared on subsequent albums. Once again Pantheïst took its singular type of funereal doom on live stages, headlining among others in Vilnius and Antwerp and supporting BELLWITCH at a sold-out gig in London.

It was inevitable that the global pandemic would affect Pantheïst in the way it did many other artists. The band took a hiatus from live appearances and Kostas, having already relocated to South Wales, gathered around him a fresh international line-up of talented musicians to record a sixth full-length album, ‘Closer to God’. Featuring US based musicians Jeremy Lewis (guitar, MESMUR) and John Devos (drums, MESMUR), French guitarist Frederic Laborde aka Nereide (HIDDEN IN ETERNITY) and Welsh bassist Matt Strangis (DOUBTSOWER), Pantheïst’s latest album is the band’s shortest and yet most confident offering, unveiling four epic tracks of cinematic scope which are dripping with emotion and infused with strong, memorable melodies