• The Panic Beats – Slave To The Blade (Dial R For Recordings) CD Review

    Released by: Dial R For Recordings
    Released on: October 31st, 2019.
    Purchase From Bandcamp

    Panic Beats, Dale VanThomme’s one man horror punk band, have been around for a while now. Their latest release, Slave To The Blade, is a six song EP CD released by Dial R For Recordings. While Dale VanThomme handles the bulk of the work here, the disc also credits Vincent Hoffer and Chad Roberts with backing vocals, additional guitar work and keyboards and credits Amanda VanThomme for a pretty killer scream. The whole thing was mixed and mastered by none other than Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust fame.

    The two-and-a-half-minute Slave To The Blade (intro) starts things off, an ominous guitar sound overtop of a simple, rhythmic drum beat that is quickly complimented by some slick sounding synth work. Some vocal harmonizing is front and center in the mix and the repetitious ‘kill kill kill’ that follows plans us firmly in horror movie territory. That aforementioned scream helps close out that track that fades out, after a quick monologue.

    They're All Gonna Burn, the two-minute second track, is more traditional horror punk material. VanThomme’s vocals are front and center here, ranting about witches to burn and how the flames get higher and higher. The keyboards in the background harken back to some of The Damned’s work, which is not a bad thing at all, but that traditional Ramones inspired backbone remains.

    No Way Out is slasher inspired, ninety-second slice of dark, pop punk with that buzz saw guitar sound right up high in the mix. It’s short but sweet and a catchy track at that. The two-minute Time To Go shows a strong Lillingtons influence but it’s got VanThomme’s unique sound going on too. He wears his influence son his sleeve while still managing to do his own thing and his vocal delivery here, as on most of this tracks, is unique and different. This one is also quite catchy, the riffs here are killer, and at two-minutes it’s the perfect length. The keyboards that rise up in the second half also add a nice layer to the sound.

    Dead In The Dirt features some slick and quick guitar work, simple riffs with a few little accents tossed in to make it interesting. Lyrically it’s another song about killing – obviously a recurring theme through The Panic Beats’ discography. Some nice backing vocal work on this track combines with the keyboards to give it a spooky vibe that works quite well. It’s the longest track on the EP at just over three-minutes.

    Last but not least, Wait To Die close things out. This one is just a single second shorter than the last track, clocking in at just over three-minutes as well. It’s a bit more upbeat in terms of the instrumentation, but the vocals are all about waiting in a cell to be put to death. It’s dark, but try not to sing along to the chorus once you hear it a few times because it’ll get stuck in your head something fierce.

    The Panic Beats’ last recording was A Date With Death in 2014. Five years is a long time to wait for new music but Slave To The Blade will definitely please the fans. There’s some definite musical evolution on display here, the music stays true to VanThomme’s roots but expands on the sound he’s been building over the years. The synth work and backing vocals play a big part in this and it’s very cool to hear something just a bit different this time around. Grind’s production work is top notch, the album sounds clean and scuzzy at the same time. It’s good stuff – let’s hope we don’t have to wait a half decade for the next one!