Slovenian thrash! Of course there aren’t enough bands around from Slovenia to make the term Slovenian thrash mean anything; Like all bands wanting to make a thrash record in the twenty first century a stark choice between ‘bay area’ or ‘Teutonic’ was all these blokes had to make at their inception, and Panikk seem to be pretty comfortable purveying forbiddingly heavy slabs of the former.
There are small twists of course. Guitarist/vocalist Gašper Flere adopts a semi-berserk howl throughout most of proceedings, meaning that, if the music does sound a lot like a smooth mix of Heathen, Exodus and Vio-Lence then it’s with Bobby Elsworth of Overkill on vocals. This works well of course, with the more aggressive (not to say unhinged) vocal style really holding it’s own well on out-and-out thrashers like Individual Right. Or indeed all of the songs on the album. The two styles mix well.
Flere is also no mean axe slinger, meshing well with six string compadre Jaka Črešnar throughout; Both men are riff machines, and if their soloing is a little flat (maybe faceless), it doesn’t really sap your enthusiasm to keep listening.
In fact ‘faceless’ might well be a word I’d use to describe Discarded Existence if I was a cruel man. But I’m not, so I won’t. However the band might have a look at ways (a melodic solo here, a big gang-vocalled chorus there? Both these things feature on the album’s best tracks, Rotten Cells and Eyes Don’t Lie, so I could be on to something) to break up the aural assault next time to maximise listener pleasure. This is good stuff, make no mistake, but a little variation never did anyone any harm.
So there you have it. Panikk might have a way to go before they overhaul Laibach in the ‘Slovenia’s most important band’ stakes, but on the evidence of this, their second album, they are their homeland’s premier thrash export. Plenty to work with, and look forward to, then, even if Discarded Existence isn’t quite the finished article yet. Here’s to the next album!
Discarded Existence is released by Xtreem Music on March 15th.