Released: 2010, Undergroove Records
Being from North America, it seems to me like our friends across the pond in Jolly ‘Ol England can sometimes be behind the times when it comes to catching on to what’s popular over here and, inevitably, copying it. I know the same hold true in the reverse, but in the case of Kent’s Panic Cell, it’s particularly egregious. Granted, the band has been around since 2004, and have two previous albums and an EP to their credit, but as I listen to FIRE IT UP in 2010 I can’t help but think the band are simply outdated.
Here’s the thing; Panic Cell are essentially what Disturbed would sound like if they played heavy, tough-guy groove metal / thrash instead of hard rock. Luke Bell’s vocals especially sound like a cross between Phil Anselmo and Dave Draiman. Take that for what it is.
If you’re still here and have a tolerance for this, I’m happy to tell you that despite the anachronism of their music, Panic Cell are very good at what they do. It’s clear that FIRE IT UP was created for two things: releasing aggression and selling albums. Despite the “I’m gonna kick your ass” posturing, the songs on the album are chock full of hooks, breakdowns, and sing-along choruses (“Splitting Skulls” in particular will have teenagers hollering along gleefully) that are designed for mass consumption. For the most part it’s inoffensive enough, but a song like the ridiculously poppy “Jaded” needs to be excised and never heard again.
I know this isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but FIRE IT UP is actually an enjoyable album despite itself. I’m guessing most of our readers wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, but as far as commercialized metal goes, you could do much worse than Panic Cell.