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Panic Room - Incarnate CD (album) cover


Panic Room


Crossover Prog

3.71 | 73 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Panic Room are a band who I have followed since their exceptional debut in 2008 (which I really must get around to reviewing). Not only are they a fairly local band to me in South Wales, but they are amongst the leading lights of that movement of female fronted, melodic, progressive rock bands that have graced this new millennium of ours.

This is a song based album, and is really rather beautiful in places. I simply adore the orchestral backdrop to the bright and lovely Start The Sound (a track which reminds me of the excellent Satellite from the second album).

In fact, the sound of the whole album is not that of an act who have lost a massive influence and character in Paul Davies, but are confident and bright enough in their ability and the band's future to absorb and, hopefully, bring in a long participation in the excellent guitar work of Adam O'Sullivan. That commitment to the cause, by the way, is very amply demonstrated by the decision of Anne-Marie Helder and exceptional drummer, Gavin Griffiths, to end their longstanding association with Mostly Autumn to concentrate on all matters Panic Room.

It is fair to say that Helder is at the centre of much of what happens in this album. Her rich, deep, lilting voice is not only as brilliantly evident as ever, she also wrote five of the nine tracks alone, and co-wrote the remaining four with old cohort, Jonathan Edwards (O'Sullivan also contributing to the Mid Eastern influenced delight of Into Temptation).

As with many song based album's with a distinctive commercial sensibility, there is a deceptive simplicity on first listens. In reality, this outfit wear their progressive rock badges with pride, and play as a true collective, with some interesting and complex soundscapes, ranging from the aforementioned orchestral delights to the delicious blues backdrop of Nothing New (I love Edwards' piano and O'Sullivan's guitar duo at the close with light rhythm of Halimi and Griffiths). There is the finest Supertramp track never made by that band in Waterfall, by which I mean this act have captured that piano led riff and wonderful uplifting sound of the classic Hodgson and Davies era. Traditional prog rock fans will simply delight at the wonders of the album closer, Dust, which creates an incredible atmosphere, very dark in places.

Those who have read my reviews over the years on Prog Archives know that I am a bit of a sucker for this type of music. However, that does not mean I accept any old rubbish.

Incarnate is the sound of a band that will continue to delight us for many a year to come. Confident, and not afraid to make and release a work which really should sell a damn sight more copies in a commercial world sadly dominated by cheesy pop remakes and dull "r 'n b". Come on world. Enter the sphere of a band simply making delicious, excellent music for the sheer joy of such an act.

Four stars. An excellent album, which presently tops my list of an impressive 2014 thus far.

lazland | 4/5 |


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