CD, Hive Records, 2008
Panic Lift is fairly easy fare to digest – distorted screaming vocals, fast, driving basslines, interspersed with ‘underground’ film samples and all held together by a heavily textured, crushing percussion section. All in all, just what you would expect from a contemporary release within the ‘endzeit EBM’ genre. Sadly, very little of what you wouldn’t expect, though…
Don’t get me wrong – “Witness to Our Collapse” is a great album. It’s fun, it’s dark, it’s antisocial, the music is catchy, the groove is dance-friendly and it will undoubtedly be a great success within the limited target audience it is catering for. Panic Lift have a potential hit on their hands – but that doesn’t make it unique, and that’s where my criticism begins. There are vast numbers of artists out there producing exactly the same thing, or at the very least, facets thereof. What was an exciting, moodier alternative to EBM in the late 90s has, unfortunately, become a dumping ground for every goth with a copy of Reason and a Midi keyboard. Panic Lift, to their credit, do add live instrumentation to the mix, making their music just that touch more believable – especially with the addition of the piano melody on “Seasons Change”, my personal favourite on the album. They also add a bit of variety to their vocal content, as evidenced by the addition of unfiltered sections on tracks like “Hold On”. Hard guitars, that would not be all that out of place on a thrash metal record, make the title track that bit more convincing, too. All this effort, however, is not quite enough to dispel the “formulaic” feel associated with almost every harsh elektro track out there…
In summation: Panic Lift will appeal mostly to fans of the like of Psyclon Nine, Tactical Sekt, Aslan Faction, Agonoize and possibly even newer Suicide Commando; more traditional EBM enthusiasts will find very little on “Witness to Our Collapse” to recommend it. A great club album, without a doubt, where almost every track could be envisioned as a single, but it still comes across as modern goth-pop.
For the young, cool clubgoers, 7/10, but for serious music fans, 4/10.
— David vander Merwe