Artist: Dead End Tragedy
Album: Panic Overdose
Shooting through your veins, electrifying every neuron in your body and sending your heart rate skyrocketing, panic hits you like a freight train. Without knowing where it came from or what to do, you act—limbs flying into motion, eyes darting around the room as your brow slickers with sweat. Despite your soaring pulse and pounding heart, the panic keeps coming—your adrenal glands kick into overdrive and your vision narrows, the far edges of your sight turning red. You go deaf to everything around you—and you can hear only one thing: Dead End Tragedy. Panic Overdose is the band’s long awaited sequel to 2009’s Unpreventable, and it sees these Neunkirchen annihilators doing exactly what they do best: destroying everything in sight. Panic Overdose is nothing but pure aggression, bottled up for years and finally released upon the beatdown music community—with hard hitting breakdowns and infectiously catchy two-steps both, Dead End Tragedy unleash a lesson in relentless, hard-hitting beatdown upon the listener, leaving them bruised and broken before the first track is even done.
Dead End Tragedy’s latest full length album is adequately named; as it is almost half an hour of adrenaline-pumping, fist-flinging energy. Panic Overdose finds itself at the crossroads of beatdown hardcore and hardcore punk, combing portions of blistering speed with segments of skull-smashing heaviness. Built onpercussion that oscillates between swift blast beats and smashing, almost slam-tinted breakdowns, Panic Overdose appeals to fans of hardcore punk with segments of songs like the opening to “For the Ones We Have Lost,” and the jarring introduction to “Wreck of Society.” However, even the quicker songs find themselves dragged into devilishly heavy beatdown territory by a low, grisly bass groove that serves as a jumping off point for steamrolling chugs from Dead End Tragedy’s two guitarists. “Cold Identity” and “Pushed Too Far” showcase this well, as dissonant, driving guitars drop from a simple, speedy riff into bone-snapping breakdowns without any warning. “Unearth the Truth” follows a similar pattern, flying from a fleet-footed two step directly into a beatdown-inducing mosh anthem that is sure to have entire venues erupt in an explosion of violent energy. At the end of the day, that is what Dead End Tragedy’s musicianship is all about: not over-the-top talent, perfect production or technicality, but raw, savage brutality.
Dead End Tragedy’s vocal element is an excellent counterpart to the punishing, straightforward aggression in Panic Overdose. Even as Dead End Tragedy’s frontman provides a monotonous display of harsh, mid-range shouts, his vocals are still energetic and driving enough to keep up with the band even at their fastest. Using a raw, bitter bark that dips into a bellowed growl on occasion, Dead End Tragedy’s vocals keep the album pushing forward, even while they don’t do much to keep the listener engaged as the release nears its end. “Panic Overdose” gives a nice break in the form of a solid guest vocal appearance, while the spoken sections of “Cold Identity” and “Unearth the Truth” add another slight bout of diversity. The takeaway message remains; while the band’s vocals might not be a selling point of the album, they are not bad by any means, and keep the album moving along without sacrificing the strongest thing Dead End Tragedy have going for them: energy.
Dead End Tragedy’s return is, ultimately, a triumph—however, it is not without its shortcomings. While the band fly through their moderately lengthy release (for the genre), they are bogged down by slightly watery production. For that reason, the bass is audible only during build ups where the guitar is absent, and the kick drum isn’t quite as punctual and piercing as it could be; just as the guitars have moments where they lack definition and sound relatively watery. The listener has to remember, however, that Dead End Tragedy aren’t out to craft a behemoth of modern production—they’re out to break bones and bruise spirits—something Panic Overdose does excellently. This crushing quintet have marked their return with an album that will instill violence in venues, living rooms, basements and bars throughout the heavy music community—meaning beatdown fanatics better be on the lookout for an epidemic of Panic.
For Fans Of: World of Pain, Comeback Kid, Wolfpack, Lionheart
By: Connor Welsh