Review Summary: "Hate me again."
A delightful feeling occurs when you stumble across a band that you had never heard of before only to discover that you deeply enjoy their output. This was one of those occasions. After a 27-second intro, Panoramic introduces itself in sensational fashion with "Protocol" and, quite frankly, this is one of the best songs I have ever heard. There is a foreboding sense of urgency maintained throughout the duration of this exhilarating track that is almost hypnotic in how it reels you in with lines such as "ever since you left me here to die in desperation, there's been a burning question in my mind" and those are just the opening lyrics. Greg Allen Norris has impeccable timing in his delivery of these vocals that, on face-value, almost come across as monotone initially, though that notion quickly switches to something striking and unique; the closest comparison would be somewhere between Brandon Boyd (Incubus) or Maynard James Keenan (A Perfect Circle).
"Way Beyond" and "Human" were the two singles released for this record. Both songs are distinct and engrossing, with the highlight of the duo being "Human", which is a ridiculously catchy anthem that utilizes repetition through lyrics to create this oddly relatable protagonist, embodied perfectly by Norris. "Way Beyond" suffers slightly from a slower pace, nevertheless it arrives after two incredibly fast-moving tracks and helps the overall pacing of the album. None of these songs overstay their welcome across the entirety of the album because they are all properly balanced by enticing vocals, thought-provoking writing and top-notch instrumentals; the peak of these instrumentals being the finale of "Protocol", which concludes on a rollicking back-and-forth between guitarists Mike Lopez, Mike Chavez and bassist Aron Orosz. Speaking in more blunt terminology, this band should have exploded after a record of this quality.
Unfortunately, this ended up being their final album. However, they seem to have ended it on good terms with one-another; as Norris, Lopez and drummer Barrett Gardner formed a group called M.E.N.D. in 2015. Speaking of mend, "Only Want to Mend" closes out this sophomore effort in a terrific manner. The vocals are fractured intentionally in a way where they almost comes across as spoken-word before erupting into the phenomenal chorus. For an album with such a rapid-fire pace, it's refreshing to hear them have enough patience to let the listeners "take a moment just to breathe" before blasting by with the remainder. This was a compelling experience from start-to-finish and I'd highly recommend it to any fan of the post-grunge genre. Truly underrated.