Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Panikk - "Unbearable Conditions" (2013)

Album (Metal Tank Records, March 12th 2013)

Line – up (2008):     Gašper Flere – vocals/guitar;
                                Nejc Nardin – guitar;
                                Rok Vrčkovnik – bass;
                                Grega Košmerl – drums.

Location:                Ljubljana (Slovenia).

Better song of the album:

The titletrack.

Better feature of the production:

The good balance between its various parts.
 Panikk - Unbearable Conditions
Cover artwork: Mario E. Lopez M.

After the modern thrashers Vivid Remorse and Exodia, here you are finally an old – school band called Panikk with its debut album, that is also the very first release of the Slovenian label Metal Tank Records. I say the truth: I don’t know very much… nay, I DON’T know the metal scene of this country, except an historic thrash band named Sarcasm, hence Panikk is the second Slovenian band that I’ve ever listened. However, I like Slovenia, because few years ago, during the holidays, I went to Kobarid, once known as Caporetto, where I ate the first kebab of my life (what a piece of news, he?) and where the Italian army was tragically defeated by the Austro – German army during the World War I… but, what fuck I am doing? This isn’t a history lesson, this is a review about an excellent band, so I must say that the Metal Tank has immediately hit the bull’s eye.

The first thing to mention about the album is its variegated tracklist. In fact, there are 9 tracks for 41 minutes of music, hence the songs are often long, also as regards the instrumental titled “Away from Reality”, reaching sometimes the 5 minutes of length. But there is even an acoustical episode, the dark “Revelation of Truth”, the only short track. All these strategic tricks let to the listeners to takes breath for a while, since the Panikk play a complex form of thrash metal, even though this complexity is always balanced with more accessible features.

In this way, the songs’ structure is exemplar. In fact, it is unforeseeable enough and full of tempo shifts, but there is a good balance between the fast and slower moments, giving a remarkable importance to the groovy passages, that have sometimes a punkish attitude (“The Wave of Death” and “Cruel World (Society to Adapt)”, starting a great headbanging time. Unlike the modern bands mentioned into the introduction, the Panikk never go through blast – beats, preferring simply a typical thrash tupa – tupa. In return, the drumwork is very fanciful and dynamic, and at times it is decisive to solve some sections (for example, listen to the titletrack, that contains shorts and hysterical climaxes).

Instead, the discourse becomes more classical about the aggressive vocals, reminding me heavily Phil Flores of the Californians Evildead. In addition, some militant choirs reinforce them, creating sometimes very potent line vocals, and all this is coherent with the socio – political themes treated by the band. There are also some variations, like the sneers of “Dismay” or the journalist speech in “Playground of Vision”, a song having a long instrumental fugue (without a solo guitar) in mid – tempo.

Despite the good technical skills of these guys, the soloist guitar isn’t so invasive, playing generally a solo for song. Among the solos, I must mention especially the one in “The Wave of Death”, considering its darker melodies than the usual. Besides this, there is a good collaboration between the musicians, considering that also the bass participates occasionally in the melodies building, above all during the first two songs.

Special mention for the instrumental, that is particular for some features. First of all, it is based largely on the mid – tempos, that are at times very strange, also in an almost reggae way (I said “almost”, of course!); secondly, in this song the soloist guitar has an important role, reinforcing often the main riff; finally, this track is more melodic than the other ones.

Basically, the only unconciving track is “Cruel World”, the longer episode of the album considering its 5:40 minutes circa of length. But this is just the problem, because, after the third minute and the solo, the rest of the song doesn’t strikes very much the listeners, maybe there was need another solo, also because there were all the presuppositions to play it. This flaw is curious, since the better of the Panikk comes from the longer tracks (above all, “The Wave of Death” and the titletrack), in which the band plays through a large range of different musical solutions. Hence, “Cruel World” represents an exception.

All in all, this debut album is a breakneck surprise, and it could has been only so, because these guys don’t released something since the 2009 demo, where came from both “Dismay” and “The Wave of Death”. I like very much this kind of bands that publish an album without excessive haste, giving the right attention to it.

Rating: 78

Flavio “Claustrofobia” Adducci


1 – Panic Attack/ 2 – Dismay/ 3 – Messiah of Decay/ 4 – Away from Reality/ 5 – The Wave of Death/ 6 – Playground of Vision/ 7 – Revelation of Truth/ 8 – Cruel World (Society to Adapt)/ 9 – Unbearable Conditions