A group five years in the making, PANICWOLF has been sidelined time and time again by it’s members all getting distracted by other projects. Finally they have taken the time to shine the light on songs that they wrote over 4 years ago, making it into the studio in June 2017 to finish off these recordings that they started work on, all that time ago. Paralyze, is what the end product looks and sounds like, and we feel it was worth the wait.
The EP was mixed and mastered by Lee Rouse at Glow in the Dark studios in Atlanta, Georgia. The band used the music as an emotional release, which made for a fluid creative process. In the band’s words: “When we were writing Paralyze the songs came naturally and presented themselves to us in a sense. We weren’t on a time crunch and to be honest we had no idea these songs would see the light of day. It was always just an easy outlet for us to express whatever emotion we had pent up at the time because at the end of the day, it didn’t matter. All we wanted was an outlet.” PANICWOLF consists of Luke Stevens (vocals), Colin Bennett (drums/vocals), Patrick Lowry (guitar), and Sean Emmetts (bass).
Paralyze opens with the commanding intro track, “Sink”. Showcasing early the energetic nature of the quartet, ferocious screams combine with rolling revving guitars to wake you up and make sure you’re paying attention. Now fully tuned in, the echoing gravelly cleans echo over the screams, as the slow but heavy instrumentals build up the foundations for what the rest of the EP is about to unleash.
The tone is set as harsh and hard, as the lyrics match the instrumentals while they talk about the suffering inside ones own head. Loneliness, mental suffering, and self imposing torment appears to be what this song is about, as the anguish and pain of it all comes across in the vocals as well as the lyrics.
Track two “Bury Me” raises the pace and continues to bring the heavy. Fast verses delve into delirious and deranged vocals, as the squealing guitars increase the insanity of it even more. A huge “woahhhhhh” hits you in the chorus, as if to say, ‘hey we can sing too’. Like an anthem, the chorus makes you want to dance; some salvation from the huge heavy riffs of the verses, not that that was needed anyway.
“Is it enough to suffocate, this I know, I know we’ll never change.”
Lyrically the song appears to speak of losing grip of your own mind. As you are slowly unhinging from your conscience, you feel your own hands tighten around your throat. Watching everything you love leave, each gasp for air seems like it could be your last. You waste away, every ounce of who you were leaving you until you are a shell of who you once were. Looking in the mirror you have no idea who you are looking at. Shaken and distraught, you scream. The uncertainty and panic of the instrumentals and the vocals solidifies this possible story behind the song, and paints a confronting yet vulnerable picture.
“Naivety” begins with thumping instrumentals and wounded vocals, powerfully pumping out a huge first verse. It rolls into audio of some kind of political speech that appears to be talking about aliens? I’m not entirely sure, it was odd. The tone of it however worked perfectly with the instrumentals of the song, and made for a quite massive feeling sound.
This could possibly relate to the feeling of being an outsider, and tie in to the rest of the lyrical content of the song, as it speaks of suffering through loneliness, suicidal thoughts, and mental illnesses. The hysterical vocals continue to match this all, as they combine with the tremor inducing drums and technical yet unhinged guitars. Frantic riffs fill the song, rolling on top of the deep bass that lies underneath the surface of the instrumentals, keeping everything afloat.
PANICWOLF’s fast verses and huge choruses return in “Misery”, utilising the immeasurable instrumental talent of the band, and matching them with the agitated and haunting nature of the vocals. Remorseless and vicious, you will want to bang your head and mosh as much as you will want to scream along with the vocals, as the ridiculous riffs and delightfully devilish drums drown out any doubt you had up to this point.
The clean choruses make the song feel huge, like something played by a band having amassed more experience than this one, and is very promising for PANICWOLF. The screams and cleans contrast each other perfectly, and with “Misery” it goes down a treat. Lyrically this song tells a story of mental suffering, continuing on the idea of this being a huge emotional outlet for the band.
It’s hard to be certain if anyone would even care if you weren’t there. Would they even notice? The uncertainty of it can drive you mad, and if you are already unhealthy mentally it can just be another thing that pokes into your mind. Another insecurity. Another concern. Fast verses and constant changing of riff tones represents the hysteria and delusions of this, as the song reflects the pain and suffering that people going through things like this experience.
The final track off Paralyze is “Demon Speak”. Lyrically it speaks of going through life numb. You see what is happening, you see what you are doing, but you feel like you are barely in control. As if you are looking through someone else’s eyes, the instrumentals feel like you are losing your mind continuously, painting a picture, along with the lyrics, of what this person is going through.
“I’m not afraid to die, I’m not afraid of my life.”
You’ve tried time and time again to fix yourself, to change, and to get better, and it hasn’t worked, so now you are giving up. Giving yourself over to the demons, you don’t care at all what happens to you. Drinking til you can’t anymore, you hope that each shot taken could end your pain. This whole possible story comes together in a huge feeling emotional way. The vocals are extra emotional, and roaring, towards the end of this song. and the atmosphere it creates is something special.
PANICWOLF have done very well with their debut EP. It largely follows connecting themes of being mentally unwell and dealing with inner demons, and executes this in a powerful way with its lyrics in particular. The vocals are a highlight, as the screams deliver extremely well, showing off the range and ability needed to portray any emotion needed, including pain and sadness. The instrumentals are hard hitting and explosive throughout, and also do a fantastic job of upping the frantic factor of it all. Everything involved here is very well written, and very well executed, and I hope they do well with Paralyze because I would love to see these songs live in Australia some time.
Paralyze is out August 24 via Pale Chord Music and can be pre-ordered here: https://shop.panicwolf.com/
Frantic yet sick instrumentals. Awesome emotional screams. Huge sounding cleans. Well written lyrically. Feelsy.