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Panic Room - Visionary Position CD (album) cover

VISIONARY POSITION

Panic Room

 

Crossover Prog

3.53 | 36 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars Just like in real life day to day relationships, breaking up is sometimes a good thing if the tremors shake up the emotional cobwebs that made a union stale and ultimately boring. Karnataka's explosion yielded new crews The Reasoning and Panic Room as well as re- launching the original band with new members save for the bassist Ian Jones! This created the rather brilliant Gathering of Light album that gave rise to a hopeful future. As for Panic Room, they were formed around Karnataka alumni Paul Davies (gt) Jonathan Edwards (k), Gavin Griffiths (drs) and Anne-Marie Helder as vocalist, whilst bringing in bassist Alun Vaughan. The tempo is vigorous and contemporary with some voluptuous interventions from the above mentioned well-seasoned musicians. The menu contains long epic tracks anywhere from 7 to 18 minute long range two to start and two to end as well as some shorter tracks that are perhaps poppier yet still contain some prime juice, all sandwiched in the middle of the programme.

On the extended opener 'Elektra City', the vocoded initial blast leads to a memorable song, well-stretched out and introducing a delightful piano, bass and drum finale that is worth admission. Anne-Marie likes the breathless style as well as unafraid of exposing her tonsils when called for. The best example is on the brooding 'End Game', a slow blooming monster that effuses hints of vaporous psychedelia, where she provides the two extreme renditions of her powerful voice. Paul unleashes some genuine guitarisms (he is not a Mr.Flash stylist but rather a divine 'understator'). A nice moody piece. The highly enjoyable 'Firefly' is a lovely vocal ballad that showcases Helder's talent rather convincingly, a tortuous axe solo helping to cajole the soul. 'Reborn' continues the lighter side with a mid-tempo rockin' roller that should have the crowd perspire in a live setting but not one of my teacups. The 3 minute 'Moon on the Water' is a sweet acoustic affair that spices things up nicely with pristine piano, squeaky violin and a gorgeous vocal in a style that hints at early Kate Bush, very jolie! 'Apocalipstick' has overt Middle Eastern shadows colliding with rock hard guitar slashes and whirling dervish violin that combine to make this track immediately infectious, as if a sudden sandstorm had been unleashed on the recording studio, inspiring these Brits to discover new horizons. This is an extremely successful track with a dizzying series of cascading guitar and synth notes whirling in the wind. But the heart of this recording lies with their interpretation of a traditional folk piece 'I wonder what's keeping my true love tonight' done previously by Celtic folk artists such as June Tabor, Kate Rusby and Solas. It's achingly beautiful as only Irish/British folk can be, full of hope and despair with Anne- Marie doing the piece complete justice, all within a fairly acoustic setting. The guitars and the synths dance nicely, the drums invited into the fray. WOW! The courage it takes to end an album with an 18 wheeler is quite ballsy and to call it 'The Dreaming' does wink at the Bush lady again. In keeping with such a diaphanous theme, the atmospherics are dense and plentiful but the valleys are also crested by some spectacular vocal peaks, churning the dynamics into at times frenzied paces. The last 6 minutes are exceptional, piano and voice in communion at first and then some weird electronic synth noodlings that confirm the reverie status, syncopated drums notwithstanding. I have been infatuated with lady prog vocalists for quite a while now and if you are like me, you will enjoy this material immensely. The front cover is rather insipid but the back photo is out of Led Zep's Presence , all that is missing is the mini-monolith! An impressive debut that should bode well for the future.

4 terror dens

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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