Noah Shephard

The latest album from Arizona-based rockers Don’t Panic is entitled 42, and is both a trip down memory lane as well as a modern and innovative release. 

The first track Conquer Divide sets the mood for what’s about to come. The moment I heard the added synth/keyboard effects it reminded me of 30 Seconds To Mars because of how it blends alternative and industrial elements. What draws this track apart though are the progressive elements. Take the change of the melody in the bridge and the male vocals for instance. Emotional Tourist is the first track that showcases lead vocalist Dylan Rowe’s abilities. The leading lady packs a 2000s alternative punch while having a varied bunch of techniques from softly-sung airy parts during verses to strongly-belted chest notes, she just has it all. Eyes on Fire is a mid-tempo groovy track with rich basslines and some industrial elements that make you wanna bang your head. Phasers Set To Stun dives outside of the Alternative Rock territory and a little bit more towards Alternative and Progressive Metal. Rowe’s soft dreamy vocals almost make you forget this is a very heavy song. When the chorus hits, you hear her bombastic high notes with the catchy chord progression and thunderous drums in a very satisfying experience. Once again the male vocals were a very pleasant and welcome surprise here and they are highly reminiscent of Skillet. 

The 5th track, Drax, was a turning point for me in the album. It’s the most metal track of the whole record. The brilliance of this song lies in the juxtaposition of the slow verses, heavy chorus, and then a slow-paced outro with the piano and acoustic guitars alone. The sixth track, Time Machine is a very special experience. It’s safe to say that it’s the most upbeat song of the whole record and it will definitely appeal to the likes of fans of Flyleaf and Delain. Fly Into The Sea has a very unique arrangement with the electric guitar beginning the melody and the clean guitars picking up where it left off. Following this part are robotic-effect vocals that sounded so strange and yet so likable. The chorus is once again one of those larger-than-life headbanging fests that we got used to listening to from Don’t Panic. The eighth and final track, Ninjas(Cory Spotts Platinum Edition 2022), is a new and fresh version of the previously released song of the same name. This version was changed to fit the feel of this album with the same bass and guitar tones and the same industrial elements in between. I can hear a lot of Rammstein and Rob Zombie influences here but in a modern Alt-Rock spectacle of course.

In conclusion, these guys bring a myriad of influences from a multitude of different eras and subgenres and somehow they mold it all into a homogenously styled album. No track feels like it doesn’t fit the rest of the pack, and yet every track stands out and doesn’t repeat or recycle ideas. What Don’t Panic have achieved here is not at all easy, but it seems they are experts at making consistent and varied records all while maintaining their flavor and style.

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