Fulfilling the same role as Alexander Fleming, when he administered his first does of penicillin, Panic cell have dulled the pain of all other pitiful current British rock offerings, with their blistering new album, Bitter Part Of Me. Like Black Label Society jamming with mid-era Corrosion Of Conformity, breakneck riffs and heavy artillery percussion are most defiantly the order of the day for this British quintet.
Stand out award for best song undoubtedly goes to Save Me, which intertwines industrial grooves with a monster chorus set between brutal verses, not forgetting, (shock horror) a guitar solo (to remind the rest of the world that Brits can still play guitars!). Thousand Words starts out as a Metallica Black album-era ballad, before switching up into a crushing epic of gargantuan proportions. “Please sir, can I have some more?” is the cry from hungry workhouse lads everywhere.
The title track has all the energy and drive of a metal classic, with double bass drum kicks and snare shots rattling off in true semi-automatic fashion, and woe betide anyone who gets in the way of the minute-long apocalyptic solo, which drops into chilled Opeth mode, before returning with a few rabid riffs to finish you off.
Utter Madness seems to verge on album filler status, and to be fair, most of the songs could do with trimming down a bit, occasionally verging on the repetitive; although in a live setting I’m sure that would be the first thing on everyone’s mind, right after ensuring no-one in the pit is bumped into! Having said that, although Shallow clocks in at over six minutes, it is layered with enough melody and technical inspiration to keep you grooving for at least another four.
The Panic Cell lads do look somewhat like ex-wrestling entertainers, i.e. a few degrees short of cool. Suggestions to improve this could include stealing Zakk Wylde‘s clothes or simply battering journalists who poke fun!
Speaking of violence, I’m guessing pacifists should avoid this band’s live shows like the plague. In fact, this hapless journo is seeking to make it mandatory for all emo bands to be cast into the depths of the thrashing mosh six feet from stage – just to inject a bit of perspective you understand.
Overall, this album is packed with enough solos, riffs, and enormous grooves to keep the entire metal genre alive by itself, and someone somewhere is starting to murmur that they have seen the future and it is old skool. Let’s just hope Panic cell don’t get trampled underfoot when the stampede arrives demanding a lost-”poster boy”-prophets version of metal.