Make the mistake of Googling “Panic Attack! On The Train” and you’ll join us in being put off going within 100 yards of any public transport service again for the rest of your life. However, listening to Norwegian band Panic Attack!‘s latest track On The Train is a far more pleasurable experience.
The Stavanger-based band have honed a “speed-crush” or “bipolar thrash punk” sound that offers a message of hope for anyone going through difficult times, struggling with depression, mental health issues and substance abuse. While Panic Attack!’s music undoubtedly deals with dark subjects, it offers an underlying message of hope and belief that we can get ourselves to a better place. Plus, there’s the fact that it’s unrelentingly fast, hugely enjoyable hardcore punk.
They sent us latest track On The Train, which comes from a compilation of fellow awesome Norwegian punk bands. The track kicks off with lively punky guitars and fast-paced drums, which feed into a lively opening verse led by vocals “What is happening, I just don’t know, Getting a mohawk, Moving to Idaho, Starting to slip, I’m losing my shit.” The opening guitars and drums return for a heavy chorus, then fun shouty vocals “Gimme gimme gimme, All that you’ve got” give way to a fun guitar solo over lively guitars and drums.
That flows straight into a chorus, which is answered by another guitar solo. Then lively vocals feed into a last smash of the heavy chorus to bring the track to a big ending.
The track follows on from Panic Attack!’s 2017 debut EP Holding On. From it, the opening track Tweeker sums up exactly the message that the band portray, beginning with the lone vocals “I get so low I can’t think, Depression comes I wanna die, Better tweak it than be me, It’s either meth or suicide.” Big punky chords jump in then continue under a repeat of the previous vocals, which continue in a prolonged opening verse.
Also on the EP is title track Holding On, which opens up with fun chunky punky chords that continue under gruff shouted vocals. They eventually give way to a cool little guitar solo that drops into the return of vocals “Don’t get mad at me for not holding on, You never would have held on this long, Giving you pills, They don’t work anymore, Give me more, Give me more.”
A fun stabbing guitar takes over then a big drum roll takes us into a fun solo over lively chords, which feeds into a heavy ending. Check it out in the video:
While the EP’s closing track Spot Burner opens up with a cool guitar riff that continues under “I don’t know who it is, It’s like me, Looks like me, Talks like me, It’s not me, But I don’t know who it is.” A chorus gives way to a heavy instrumental section, which feeds into another chorus and a lively punky outro.
We had a chat with frontman Dave Pickett (who’s obviously not Norwegian) to find out more about the band. Read on below…
GR: Who are Panic Attack!?
DP: “I grew up in the South Bay and Long Beach parts of Los Angeles, California and ultimately moved to Stavanger, Norway. I was doing stand up comedy at the time but I was unhappy with it because music is my first love.
“After meeting Ed Feed, our guitarist, I quit stand up comedy and started working on this band. I had met a lot of bands in town doing MC and intro work, that‘s where I met Donny Brilliant our second guitar player and we clicked right away. Then Ed brought in the beast, Per Oskar Storholm on bass guitar. Finally, during an intermission of a Monster Magnet show, the rock’n’roll gods gifted us with Jacob Yttredal as our drummer and we were all set and ready to rock.”
GR: You just released On The Train. What should people be expecting from the song?
DP: “The song On the Train was inspired by taking LSD and getting on a train to see an Arthur Brown concert. This was an alternate version of On the Train for the Pønk i Norge 2020 compilation featuring Norwegian punk bands.”
GR: How would you describe the Panic Attack!’s sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
DP: “Panic Attack!‘s sound can be described as “speed-crush“ like a fast car chase with an impending crash. People who like OFF!, Motorhead, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag, Rollins Band, Poison Idea, and Slayer will probably like us the most, but we seem to appeal to a broader base than we expected.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
DP: “Panic Attack!‘s music is played in the key of misery and it‘s for people who live on the edge of life and death. The lyrics of the songs represent lives of bi-polar depression, ADD, ADHD, confusion, anger, hard drug abuse, alcoholism, suicidal ideation/attempts and self-destruction.
“Misery is a condition that many of us have in common, and that is the band‘s zone musically but amongst the darkness there’s an underlying message of hope and belief that we can get ourselves to a better place.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
DP: “The members of Panic Attack! have backgrounds in punk rock, black-metal, jazz and stand up- comedy. They have other bands that they play in and projects that they are associated with – Gehenna, Hold Fast, Throne of Katarsis, Vicereine, Toxic Death, Ljå, Sleepyard, the Konsortium, Doomkirke, Helldiver, Jagged Vision, Cvinger, Bad Slags, We Who Burn Bonfires, The Chairs, and Acid Lipstick.”
GR: We’ve featured several great Norwegian bands on the site. What are your thoughts on the punk/rock/metal scene in the country?
DP: “I have been living in Stavanger, Norway for ten years and it is an amazing town to be in if you like music or if you are in a band. I am completely surrounded by talented musicians and awesome bands. There are so many music related things going on in Stavanger and all over Norway that I am really happy about living here.
“Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim are also packed full of awesome bands, Turbonegro, Kvelertak, NAG, The Good The Bad and The Zugly, Purified In Blood, Gehenna, Doomkirke, The Dogs, Mayhem, they are all influences on us and there‘s too many to name.
“Norway is a fantastic place to record an album and the music scene here is alive and kicking. I am looking forward to being here in Norway, making music until the day I die. When they bury me, I hope one of these bands I mentioned is playing at my funeral. We have replacements in place for all of Panic Attack!‘s members so that no matter what happens to us this band will live on.”
GR: What have you got coming up in 2020? New music, new gigs, recording etc…?
DP: “The last four years have been a steady process of finishing a 13 track LP titled Don‘t Stop that we are releasing a song at a time throughout the rest of this year. We are scheduled to have a new music video released with our track titled Meh on 10 September.
“Concerts this year are currently at a stand still so I don‘t know what that means for us playing live but we do have 13 new tracks and a music video to release this year. The last show we played was opening for Turbonegro, one of our biggest influences.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about Panic Attack!?
DP: “On 10 September 2016 – World Suicide Prevention Day – we released a four song demo called Holding On. We hosted our first Suicide Fest show in 2016 where we play with other bands and give the proceeds to our local youth group, Mental Helse Ungdom Stavanger Region, that helps at-risk teens and troubled kids to find some normality and consistency away from drugs and drama.
“We‘ve had a show every year and 2020 was scheduled to be our fifth annual Suicide Fest. Due to the Corona outbreak, I‘m not sure if it will happen but I am actively trying to organise an event that meets our local public health and safety standards.”
You can follow Panic Attack! on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify and Bandcamp. And if this has given you a taste for Norwegian music, check out their hometown playlist on Spotify.