Panic - Circles (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Circles (2006)


Circles marks a number of numbers for Panic; it's their first release in 3 years and first since reforming late last year, and overall their third EP in a row. Although that could be regarded by some as a lazy hesitation to write the complete set of tunes necessary for a full-length offering, I think we can give them room to wait a bit longer as they've just gathered themselves back up to deliver their solid brand of hardcore as evidently influenced by Black Flag and similar to Suicide File.

You're mostly going to hear those distinct guitar tones of the Black Flag hardcore era as the disc moves into its middle-to-late territory. It's a tone I can't even really describe for the life of me, but it's a little playful and rather thumpy, moving a bit frenetically about the scales and makes me really frustrated to be a reviewer; if you know Western Addiction or Attitude, you probably know what I'm talking about.

Panic vocalist Gibby is slightly burly as far as sincerely gravelly tones on hardcore punk vocalists go, giving the band a nice rough edge -- sort of like Agnostic Front's Roger Miret on that band's last effort, but with less Kermit the Frog. Nothing gets hysterical, not by any means, but he does have that wildly raspy nature that actually kind of makes the songs pretty fun.

While pretty solid all around, I'm going to regard the opener and closer as the standouts. "Rise" was posted as an MP3 for obvious reasons, as it's immediately catchy and easy to sing along with, while "The Wolves Circle the Wolves" starts off manically frantic and offers the customary but flawlessly executed transition to fading out, two-step breakdown.

Reflections is quickly becoming one of my favorite labels, for their genre especially, and Panic's satisfying Circles is simply another reason why.