At first listen, Panic seems like your stereotypical Bridge Nine band. In a way they are, and in a way they aren't. But I'll get to that in a second. Strength in Solitude is a comprehensive look at everything the band produced in its first two years as a band (2000-2002). This includes the out-of-print Dying For It EP (2001) and self-titled EP (2002), as well as songs from an original demo cassette.
Panic doesn't stray far from what you could call "the Bridge Nine sound": raw, energetic old-school hardcore that is a little on the melodic side. But this is one of the better representations of that sound. Months before I ever heard this disc, I happened to buy a Bridge Nine compilation, and I distinctly remember Panic being one of a handful bands that stood out to me. But where Panic stand out from the rest of the hardcore pack are their lyrics. The description that came with my promo says Panic is "an elusive, mysterious band that took the dark vocal imagery of bands like Joy Division and the Smiths and set it to furious hardcore like Slapshot and Negative Approach." A little caption on the back of the liner notes reads "kids like us will always be alone," and that sets the tone for most of Panic's lyrics. Indeed, most of the songs seem to be about loneliness and depression is some form or another. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing, in fact it's mildly refreshing when it seems like a lot of Bridge Nine's roster is trying to cram the straightedge lifestyle down your throat. Even though Panic shares little with them, I can't but help be reminded of vintage "dark" hardcore (TSOL, Misfits, etc.) and how they stood out from their peers.
To me, Panic is one of the better Bridge Nine bands, and the retrospective format instantly makes me think of Minor Threat's Complete Discography, and kind of makes me forget that it's 2006. The spirit of hardcore lives on thanks to bands like Panic. This is one of the few hardcore albums that seem to get better with every listen. It is also one of the few albums I have heard recently that pulls off the much-coveted raw, "live" sound. This is definitely a welcome addition to my hardcore album collection.
7.0 / 10
Posted June 8, 2004, 11:22 a.m.
Engine Down recently signed to Lookout! Records. Could this be the reason why Cam decided to leave Denali, thus resulting in the bands break-up? We think so.
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