Panic Cell - Fire It Up
It seems like Panic Cell have been ploughing the UK metal underground for a hell of a long time now. Their first album, Bitter Part of Me, came out in 2003 and it seems as though they’ve been on tour solidly since then, through the release of their second album What Doesn’t Kill Us and tours with the likes of Black Label Society and Devildriver. Despite this they seem to have been stuck at the same level for the past few years, so could Fire It Up be the adrenaline shot to shoot them into the spotlight?
Once again the band is working with producer Will Maya, and as always the sound is impeccable. Clear and crisp, each and every instrument comes through like a kick to the stomach. In particular, Luke Bell’s voice seems to be sounding better than it ever has, he possesses one of those truly classic hard-rock singing styles which sounds both melodic and aggressive in equal measure, coming through particularly on tracks such as first single ‘Unbroken’ with its precision drumming and heavy-as-fuck guitars.
Talking of guitars, there are some great riffs and solos throughout the record courtesy of Nathan Wood and Harj Virdee. ‘Splitting Skulls’ has a groovy Pantera-esque opening and the riff on the verse can’t help but make you bang your head, while ‘Down to the Next Time’ has some fire-starting solo work. But herein lies the problem with a lot of Panic Cell’s songs, there’s just not enough variation. Most songs take exactly the same formula and give it a minor twist, but that's it. Having said that, Panic Cell may have written their most commercial song yet in the shape of the brilliant ‘Jaded’, flitting effortlessly between acoustic strums and heavy rock riffs in a concise four minutes.
At the end of the day, Fire It Up is more of the same from the Panic Cell crew, but it has been cranked up a notch. Whether it gets them the wider attention that they surely crave is something that will have to be seen, but you can be confident in knowing that if you do pick up this album you’ll be rocking out from beginning to end.