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PANIC ROOM

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Panic Room biography
Following KARNATAKA's 2003 release, 'Delicate Flame of Desire', Jonathan EDWARDS (keyboards), Paul DAVIS (guitar) and Gavin GRIFFITHS (drums; MOSTLY AUTUMN, FISH) elected to break away and form PANIC ROOM, with Anne-Marie HELDER (vocals, guitar, flute; MOSTLY AUTUMN) who had been brought in to perform backing vocals on the album. Alan VAUGHAN (bass), who completed the line-up, joined them shortly afterwards.

Explaining the missive behind their debut album, 2008's 'Visionary Position', Jonathan EDWARDS (principle co-writer, along with Anne-Marie) says ".we really wanted to explore all the different kinds of music that turn us on and make something fresh and original. Because of the common background in KARNATAKA that Anne, Paul, Gavin and myself shared it was inevitable that some elements of our musical past would resurface in PANIC ROOM's music, but there are so many other influences and elements coming through as well."

Indeed, while setting their music against a background, which may best be described as 'Crossover Prog', their music also undoubtedly incorporates mainstream rock, acoustic ('Moon On The Water'), ambient sound-scapes ('The Dreaming') folk, jazz and even eastern influences ('Apocalypstick'), in order to expand their ever-growing palette of sound. This 'eclectic' scope is similarly reflected in their lyrics, principally penned by Anne-Marie, who explores "futuristic dsytopian sci-fi worlds and 'Arabian Night' fantasies as well as achingly honest love songs". Such tracks serve as vehicles for the diverse, richly emotive and wide ranging singing styles mastered by Anne-Marie, whom the writer feels to be one of the most accomplished on the present UK progressive circuit.

Naturally, PANIC ROOM stem from the 'new wave' of female fronted, progressively influenced bands within the UK scene, which had been initiated by MOSTLY AUTUMN and KARNATAKA, during the late '90s. Although PANIC ROOM's music stands to one side as being a little more diverse than others within their 'stable', fans of the above bands, beside those of MAGENTA, THE REASONING and the present European Neo-Progressive scene, should find much of interest here.






Thanks to Jared (Fandango) for the biography

Panic Room official website

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IncarnateIncarnate
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$11.40
$9.95 (used)
SkinSkin
Import
Esoteric 2012
Audio CD$11.35
$17.18 (used)
SatelliteSatellite
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$13.94
$20.51 (used)
Visionary PositionVisionary Position
Import
Firefly Music 2008
Audio CD$29.99
$132.11 (used)
SatelliteSatellite
Import
Firefly Music Ltd / Voiceprint 2010
Audio CD$24.96
$24.95 (used)
EQUILIBRIUMEQUILIBRIUM
ALKEMIST FANATI
Audio CD$20.53
$47.11 (used)
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PANIC ROOM discography


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PANIC ROOM top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 36 ratings
Visionary Position
2008
3.32 | 61 ratings
Satellite
2010
3.69 | 91 ratings
Skin
2012
3.68 | 43 ratings
Incarnate
2014

PANIC ROOM Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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PANIC ROOM Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Skin by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 91 ratings

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Skin
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars I love Panic Room, and while they wouldn't be in my top 10 bands, all of their albums are worth listening to. The main complaints against the album under review, Skin, seems to be that there's not enough complexity and variety. I think these shortcomings are not vital, and I think Skin is a 4 star album.

I like a lot of music considered crossover prog. Panic Room is in this category for a reason. They are clearly not trying to be Gabriel-era Genesis or King Crimson. KC is my favorite band, but their music takes too much concerted effort to listen to every day. "Song for Tomorrow", "Chameleons", "Screens" are all fine songs. The album has no bad songs, although favorites depend on the person listening.

Some also claim that the songs sound too much alike. If you like what Panic Room does, I don't think variety is a problem. I personally think that the music of Dream Theater and Pink Floyd, after Syd Barrett, hasn't changed all that much. Yet, we don't criticize DT and PF for it. Therefore, I'm giving Skin 4 stars. It's an excellent album in Panic Room's consistently fine discography.

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 Skin by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 91 ratings

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Skin
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by toilet_doctor

5 stars Panic Room Skin

Would you rate Uriah Heep Magician's Birthday or Wishbone Ash Argus 1-3 stars just because they are not complex enough? I doubt. The same is with Panic Room Skin. The complexity is not a high point of these 11 songs set, where almost each of them has a small neat moment. So nice, melodic and touching. Highest point here is vocal, soulful and passionate, it's ranging from gentle to powerful, and everywhere in between it's very enjoyable. Great musicianship, string section, excellent drumming, musical arrangement and stunning crystal-clear sound quality are also high points of this album. Did I mention gorgeous backside on the front cover?

We have to rate this album not for what it should be, but for what it is: Soft Rock with Prog elements. We need such a music to have a brake, sometime, from heavy and complex stuff, and this album serves it purpose perfectly. To my surprise, I found myself to listen to it again and again, when it was just released, then I put it on the shelf, and now, I'm listening to it with the same pleasure.

5 softly rocking stars.

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 Incarnate by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 43 ratings

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Incarnate
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
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.

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 Incarnate by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 43 ratings

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Incarnate
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars I am on record for having anointed 2012's "Skin" as one of the best prog albums in recent memory, a seductive selection of heart stopping tunes, played by some of the finest lesser- known musicians on the planet. This was a complete package, amazing artwork, crystal clear production, expert technique and seamless songs that simply charmed me to no end. Firstly, there is such a thing as eye and ear candy, her name is Anne-Marie Helder, a beauty with a gorgeous voice, both powerful and evocative, suave and forceful. She can hush, she can rush, growl and howl are her fortes. Her reputation has grown by leaps and bounds, a perennial vocal queen for the prog throne. She has the tools to be the next Kate Bush, and that is saying something! Next up, Gavin John Griffiths is perhaps Britain's current master prog drummer, having pummeled with Fish, Mostly Autumn, Iain Jennings and Karnataka. He has a no nonsense style, solid, masculine and highly rhythmic, providing a foundation that breathes, pants and shrugs eloquently with the material. Jonathan Edwards is an accomplished keyboardist, always elegantly adorning instead of showing off his many skills. His piano work in particular is noteworthy. Bassist Yatim Halimi is a find, a sensational lo-end purveyor, who adds a great sense of lyrical playing to his repertoire, including fretless rampages that will seek out attention. New recruit Adam O'Sullivan takes over the hallowed Paul Davies' role as lead guitarman, a hard act to follow as Davies was a tour de force player, famous for more substance than flash, thus fitting the music perfectly. Adam does very nicely indeed.

I am proud to report that "Incarnate" is a fine follow up to the previous 'dermal' masterpiece ("Skin" is just timeless!), the talent here just too impeccable for any possibility of failure or disappointment. The material is first rate, a fine panorama of various sounds, moods and tones that all seem to fit perfectly in synch with each other as well as a whole, a hallmark feature of "Skin". Now, please take into consideration that this is not going to be a synth solo festival, shredding effect-laden ping-pong guitar duels that feature every pedal known to man or bombastic 6 part suites that rekindle some medieval fairy tale. No, only majestic songs that exude class and quality, fully bathing in prog gloss and shimmering with utter beauty. That being clear, the three epic 7 minute + tracks are clearly the finest selections here, the sumptuous title track, as well as the devilishly charming "Into Temptation" and the colossal finale "Dust" are just impeccable musical statements that transcend musical borders, styles and genres. The violin is gone but the music and the lyrics, phew!

Immediate kick into overdrive with the impeccably visceral "Velocity", a speedy little ditty that charms, cajoles and caresses adroitly, a cool riff and cooler groove makes this an ear- opening statement. Ladies and gentlemen, this album is going to kick your behind something fierce because you won't expect anything surpassing "Skin". Well guess what? All the ingredients are in place for a tremendous ride with Anne ?Marie belting out intense lyrics and impassioned emotions. Explosive!

"Start the Sound" is perhaps closer to classic Karnataka but that's where three of these musicians cut their teeth, as a unit for a long time. The chorus is celestial, soaring like a massive rainbow of kaleidoscope colours, showing once and for all that simple melody can be just as poignant as complex rifferama, sugared by glossy orchestrations that amplify the ache. Bold and beautiful!

The emphatic title track swirls and simmers like some slow-acting soporific anesthesia, the electric piano taking over the reins and leading the whispering vocal prowess, unleashing a heady symphonic barrage that sparkles in the rain. Another fine example of how well thought out the melodies are and the level of build-up needed to give them emphasis. Jonathan Edwards certainly excels in the arranging department! The spiraling ivory keys reveal an inner revelation of eternity, as Helder wails unremittingly. Addictive!

Breathless vocals are splattered all over "Nothing New", a method that agrees very nicely with Miss Helder, highlighting a bluesy guitar that shrouds the fragility of the theme. Cello and viola agree to strengthen the majesty of the arrangement, the orchestrations again bowing to the audience. Edwards does a little piano etude, while O'Sullivan does a few zesty guitar pirouettes. Mesmerizing!

The splashy "Waterfall" could have been a Supertramp song, it's that good! Very English, quite angelic and absolutely anthemic. This could be in a queue, after the classic "Dreamer". Set up the premise properly and then, infuse a rollicking along bass line, emotive e-piano and a good steady beat. Cap that off with another vocal performance from Helder and here is another one slotted "into the old onion bag".

The heavenly "Into Temptation" needs more words, a thoroughly enticing Celtic-prog tinged style that should have been recent the Iona, a towering voice that emotes at the deepest level, almost spiritual but somehow wilder as well. Halimi and Griffiths really braise nicely, very secure and confident in their buzz, an articulate and muscular combo that is intoxicating (throughout the album, BTW!), while O'Sullivan does some slick Phil Manzanera-style licks. Loads of symphonics only escalate the pleasure, one of the finest prog songs ever. World class, truly!

"All That We Are" is a song for the ages, smooth as silk, bluesy, rocky, folksy, pure unadulterated class. Think along the lines of Squeeze and even Stealy Dan with torch song tendencies, full of restrained melodrama in a Hollywoodian setting. Helder shows her mettle and her control is full ON, easily convincing the listener like some actor nailing the scene, gently secure. In a normal world, this would be a galactic hit, rendered by all the glittering stars, Stunning!

The glittering beat extolled in "Searching" is a fine example of the genius presented here, a lovely melody wrapped in dense keys, hard drums and a sultry vocal that would make Ann Wilson (Heart) turn green with envy! The mood is palpitating, in a sonically erotic way, the music being utterly carnal but in seduction mode, haunting the soul with whispered longing. If I play this for a lady friend ?.well,?.she melts right into my arms, ready to 'drown in a sea of love' (a song by Irish pop band the Adventures, I believe) ! Beautiful love songs with deep meaning get the girls every time, as they should always remain the eternal optimists and yearn to become strong and happy women. Astonishing!

Need I doubt that "Close the Door" is anything more than the same scintillating quality of the previous tracks, another absolute winner that has all kinds of emotive ties to everything from Donovan to Roxy Music with a little Linda Ronstadt thrown in for good measure? Yes and more, quality my friends, sheer quality! Like a swing between two maple trees, the summer wind blowing gently, the song holds on to all that we need to sway serenely, in raptured delight. Transcendental!

To end on a song like "Dust" requires a lot of guts as it tackles atmospheric experimentation that winks at This Mortal Coil or Dead Can Dance phased in spectral sheen and neo-gothic grandeur. The piano is cemetery somber, the axe tortured into brief spasms of electricity, Edwards really putting out all the stops on his keys and a schizoid pace that is unbending and unending. Helder diversifies by treating her voice accordingly and howling when need in the more Wagnerian exit. Frightening!

I am a big fan, so I am obviously and unashamedly biased and perhaps even in love with this kind of very romantic and sexy prog. Being a long-time and proud Roxy Music fan, what would you expect, a swerve into math-rock ? Nope, but Panic Room has all the makings of a perfect soundtrack for modern lovers looking beyond the accessible and yearning to venture into the mystical world of progressive enchantment. Far more elegant than any other female fronted band anywhere, Panic Room is that emotional oasis that guarantees keeping the ugly outside world unable to enter one's inner world.

5 Flesh and bloods

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 Incarnate by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.68 | 43 ratings

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Incarnate
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

3 stars Well, if I've learned anything as a music fan, I've learned that you can never expect every anticipated album to meet all expectations. After being blown away by a few albums so far this year, I had high hopes for Panic Room's follow-up to "Skin", an incredible album full of atmosphere and eclectic attitude. "Incarnate", though, is neither the same type of album nor as good of one, either. With that said, though, "Incarnate" is a wonderful album still.

The beautiful cover art of this new album may give some clue as to the contents. The music is very heartwarming, slow (for the most part), and rather simple. While that may be, it is also quite beautiful. It is an album of songs, plain and simple. The band didn't set out to make some masterwork of progressive proportions, but instead made a lovely album featuring excellent songwriting and some thoughtful lyrics. I did appreciate the latter, as the lyrics on songs like "Nothing New" and the title track are rather philosophical in nature. I wasn't really expecting this, but I love it just the same.

The main presence here is the vocal skills of Anne-Marie Helder. Her exceptional voice is on full display here. She wows again and again whether in both difficult and simple lines. She doesn't even seem to struggle at all, and masters both soaring melodies and low, personal verses with ease. Her rich, full voice is something this band couldn't live without, and her sense of style and presence is rather remarkable.

I think what disappoints me most about this album are the musical choices. Anne-Marie is flawless here, but the choice to tone down the interesting aspects of Panic Room's sound was not a good one. "Skin" featured organic violin passages among an eclectic array of instruments. It really set the album apart, for sure. "Incarnate" has none of this. There is a little sprinkling here and there of guitar genius and the like, but the music is mostly rather simple and low-key. None of the instruments stand out really, though there are some tasty keyboards here and there, especially on the title track or on "Start the Sound". Everything else seems so disappointingly "blah" and just kind of there. There is so much room for experimentation and for more layers of sound, but the band seems just to play it safe.

That said, this is still a good album. It's still enjoyable and very gorgeous in many ways. Heck, the vocals alone make the album worth a purchase. I also won't say there are any bad songs on "Incarnate", though I can't seem to connect with "Into Temptation" at all. There is a bit of a cheese factor on a few (such as "The Waterfall"), but nothing too over the top. My favorites include the wonderful "Start the Sound", "Incarnate", the gorgeous "The Waterfall", and the especially atmospheric "Dust". "Nothing New" and "All That We Are" are both noteworthy, as well.

Panic Room has provided us with a lovely soundtrack moving into Spring, and I think the delicate, subtle nature of this album is very appropriate. It is definitely missing something, however, but not enough to keep me from enjoying it. I don't think "Incarnate" will end up at the top of any list for 2014, and I'm afraid it will be forgotten as the year moves on. Yet, if you have the desire, definitely take a look at this simple and beautiful album.

3.5 stars

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 Skin by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 91 ratings

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Skin
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Post/Math Rock and Crossover Teams

4 stars I will come right out and say that I am very impressed with this release from Panic Room. I had no expectations going into "Skin", as this is my first experience with the UK-based outfit. However, they have gained my immediate attention, and also my anticipation for their recently announced 2014 album.

Panic Room is a female-fronted progressive rock band that utilizes dark guitar atmospheres, some novel instruments, and incredible violins. The rock music is very well performed, and it is augmented with some electronic elements and a melancholy ambiance that draws you into the emotions being portrayed here. Really, the violin is masterfully performed and written, as can be seen on such tracks as "Tightrope Walking" and "Promises". It is simply astounding to see such inventive and purposeful use of an instrument that is usually more atmospheric or orchestral. Here it is raw, vulnerable, and beautiful.

Speaking of raw and vulnerable, I think the cover art really showcases what you will experience. Confusion and insecurity reign in the lyrical content, and you can really detect the feelings of vulnerability portrayed by the nudity in the open forest. Wet, alone, and possibly scared, "Skin" is a fascinating look into a melancholy mind.

Anne Helder has one of the best female voices I've ever heard. Actually, she has one of the best voices I've ever heard, male or female. Clear, concise, and extremely melodious, Anne's voice is powerful when necessary and small when appropriate. "Impressed" doesn't begin to address her voice. More like "astonished" or "flabbergasted". I was, strangely enough, especially interested in her ability to annunciate but still keep the melody intact. That's talent! I can think of no great compliment than to say that she reminds me of a younger Anne Jobs Bender of the band Introitus. Amazing!

Dark, emotive, and hauntingly beautiful; "Skin" is a near-masterpiece, and I am confident that Panic Room's next album will be something special. I really hope they can continue their very personal style of music.

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 Skin by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 91 ratings

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Skin
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by FemmeMetalWebzine

4 stars My introduction to the UK prog/folk rock outfit Panic Room came via the excellent, "Satellite" album which was released in 2010. I came away with a very positive impression of the band. Now with their 3rd album, "Skin", Panic Room have upped the ante and released a solid follow- up to "Satellite".

While they are primarily lumped into the Prog genre, Panic Room is so much more. In addition to their prog leanings, they also offer influences that range from folk to pop or just straight rock. "Skin" contains over an hour's worth of lush, atmospheric compositions and Anne-Marie Helder's classy vocals. Panic Room mix 6 and 7 minute compositions with more accessible 3- 4 minute songs. Tracks like "Song For Tomorrow", "Tightrope Walking" and "Promises" are all very well crafted melodic compositions. The 8-minute "Nocturnal" brings "Skin" to a close and is a fitting way to wrap things up. Panic Room is quickly becoming one of the better bands in the prog-rock scene. With the release of "Skin", it is easy to see why.

Rating ? 82/100

Review by Tony Cannella

(Originally published at Femme Metal Webzine smarturl.it/PanicRoomS)

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 Satellite by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.32 | 61 ratings

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Satellite
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by octopus-4
Special Collaborator RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team

3 stars Knowing that the band was formed by former Karnataka and former Mostly Autumn members can already give an idea of what this album can contain. I have to say that I hear more similarities with MA than with Karnataka as I could have expected but it may be just my subjective feeling.

Not a bad album at all. I've been a little surprised reading in another review that the track that doesn't work for the reviewer is the one that I have liked more than the others: "I Am A Cat", which demonstrates how subjective the perception of music can be.

The album starts with a rock guitar riff. "Freedom To Breathe" is a good rock song on which the former MA Anne Marie Helder shows her vocal extension. Paul Davies is not mimic of David Gilmour. At the end this song reminds me a bit to Magenta.

"Picking Up Knives" is bluesy. Anne's voice works very well on this track which leaves some room to piano and bass. A radio friendly song good, I think, for driving.

Now it's the turn of the already mentioned "I Am A Cat". Meows are done by the guitar. the song is a sort of grotesque waltz. with a nice chorus of the kind which remains fixed in the head for some time.

"The Fall" is a good title for a song which fails to keep me interested. It's too far from my tastes, just melodic chill-out. It doesn't mean that somebody else can't like it. Not my pot.

Instead, I like the bass on the following "Black Noise". On this song Anne sounds a bit like Heather Findlay on "Caught In A Fold". This is another rocking song which unfortunately has another chill-out in the middle that I like less, however Anne's voice is excellent and in its complex the song is surely not bad even if far from being a masterpiece.

"Yasuni" is an important song. "In a land in the Amazon There is a sound Like the burning of Eden Down to the ground ". Unfortunately in that reserve which is considered the place most rich of biodicversity in the world somebody has found petrol. A song with a little newage flavor.

I remember a short time lived Italian duo called "Nocturna". This "Sunshine" is a song which reminds me to them. btw, that duo was considered newage.

I think that putting too many slow-time melodic songs in sequence sometimes doesn't work. When "Into The Fire" comes I'm in general a bit tired of all this sweetness. Taken alone this is an excellent song. Easy chords and very radio friendly but makes its work.

"Dark Star" is opened by a church organ which closes the sequence of sugar and honey of the previous songs. It's a melodic song, as well as the rest of the album, but this is more tasty, the chord passages are not trivial and the mood is dramatic. Close to the Mostly Autumn of the "Passengers" period.

"Muse" is another nice pop song. I think to Christina Boothe's solo debut album. Keys and voice.

The title track closes the album. It's also the longest song and even if length doesn't necessarily mean "progressive", this is a song which can qualify a band for this site. It switches on a flag in my mind, but I can't identify exactly what it is. It's the sensation that I often feel when a song contains elements which are common with others. I have felt this sensation the first time I've listened to Mostly Autumn's "The Gap Is Too Wide". I was trying to remember when I had listened something I had never listened to before. A very good closer for an average album.

Good but non essential, with some weaknesses in the middle but also some very good songs

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 Visionary Position by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.53 | 36 ratings

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Visionary Position
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Swansea-based UK act Panic Room was actually the reason Karnataka almost disbanded in mid-00's, when Jonathan Edwards and Anne-Marie Helder parted ways with the band and later asked Gavin John Griffiths and Paul Davies if they would like to join them in a new project.Both accepted the invitation, leaving Karnataka's leader Ian Jones all alone, simultanseously giving birth to Panic Room.They were joined by bassist Alun Vaughan and released their debut ''Visionary Position'' in 2008 on their own Firefly Records.Some of the tracks feature also the help of Liz Prendergast from Bluehorses on violins and arrangements.

The 4/5 of Karnatake escaped the attention of Ian Jones, but seem to have to not escaped their music past with KARNATAKA at all, as Panic Room's sound has strong references from the music of KARNATAKA.All these kind of bands seem to be extremely influenced by the ''Brave''-era MARILLION plus the evident folky touches, eventually coming up with a pretty song-based and accesible form of Progressive Rock, approached by a wider audience.The music of Panic Room remains melodic and easy-listening all the way, even in the very long ''The Dreaming'', with a very dreamy atmosphere surrounding their music.The tracks are split between short, laid-back Art Rock pieces with ethereal soundscapes and warm vocals by Anne-Marie Helder, musically led by acoustic guitars, piano and synths, and more upbeat cuts, which still are quite easy-listening, with evident use of electric guitars, more sharp keyboards and safe riffs, eventually producing a more passionate and energetic mood.Among the pieces there are a few violin- or flute-based themes, a sign that Panic Room can be easily regarded as a KARNATAKA offshoot act at least in this release.

If you are fond of the music of KARNATAKA, IONA, MOSTLY AUTUMN and the likes, Panic Room's ''Visionary Position'' will be an excellent addition in your collection.Atmospheric, smooth Progressive/Art Rock of decent quality.Recommended.

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 Skin by PANIC ROOM album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 91 ratings

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Skin
Panic Room Crossover Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

3 stars PANIC ROOM is a fairly new band from the United Kingdom formed around 2005. When I was approached to review their newest album called Skin (2012), I have to say that I had some concerns. I am very open to mostly any kind of music, especially when it comes to Progressive Rock, but the name of Anne-Marie Helder, their vocalist, brings me some mixed feelings. I knew her from bands like KARNATAKA and MOSTLY AUTUMN and these bands are quiet weak when it comes to Progressive Rock. They have light influence by the genre and a lot of Pop Rock. Don't get me wrong, I like good Pop Rock a lot but not when it is sold as Progressive Rock.

But I decided not to pay attention to that and listen to the album with care. Skin (2012) was recorded in the Sonic One studio and mastered at Close To The Edge. The album had Tim Hamill as mixer and engineer and it was produced by members of the band: Anne-Marie Helder (vocals and guitars), Jonathan Edwards (keyboards and guitars) and Tim Hamill. The band's line-up included also Paul Davies (guitars), Gavin John Griffiths (drums) and Yatim Halimi (bass). Skin (2012) was released by Esoteric Antenna/Cherry Red Records in June.

When 'Song For Tomorrow' starts, the pop accent I was worried about is shown and it continues on the second track 'Chameleon'. But to tell the truth, it is a minor thing. Both songs are well written and catchy, including wonderful pianos and vocals. Anne-Marie Helder was elected in 2011 as Best Female Vocalist by the Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine and listening to this songs you understand why.

But at the same time tracks like 'Chances' almost ruin everything. It is Pop and with no trace of interesting parts, just chorus repeating endlessly. Another one like this is 'Freefalling' that begins acoustic and pretty and soon turns out to be a semi electronic piece of music, which doesn't make sense at all.

But the Prog moments are what makes the band shine. Like on the third track 'Screens', or 'Tightrope Walking' with the indian mysterious feeling, a good riff and The Larkin Quartet performing on it. All of it make it a great track. They should have used strings in more tracks. 'Hiding The World' and the last track, 'Nocturnal' are another good moments on the album. The former has great vocals by Anne-Marie. Unfortunately, there are few moments like these on Skin (2012), not even half of the album. In the end, what makes me worried before listening to the album turns out to be a fact. PANIC ROOM is a very nice band but not really Progressive Rock. They belong to the subgenre that some call Crossover Prog. The album is quite fine and enjoyable as a whole but the problem here is that they're not Pop enough to be called Pop and not Prog enough to be called Prog, if you know what I mean. This road was travelled before by many bands (as with the new album by the Polish band Quidam) and the result is always the same. They don't have good audience in both sides of the spectrum. It is very hard to please Prog lovers with Pop and vice-versa.

The truth is, if you like to have light Prog music that's not intricate or complex, this is the perfect band/album for you. But if you're looking for some listening challenges' you'll not find them here.

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Thanks to dean for the artist addition.

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