Nottingham's Dark Matter have proven themselves around town and beyond in a live setting, yet Don't Panic is their first recorded release to this point. Opening with lead single Think of the Children, it is clear from the very beginning they take great influence from all the greats. With vocals remeniscent of Bruce Dickinson in his prime and scooped-mids tones all round, there could be no more fitting an introduction to the quartet.
Then comes Darkest Hour, which opens with an enormous medieval-inspired hum harmony that isn't normally attempted with 10x the budget, though the locking of the tonality fits in a similarly slick fashion to Kiss From A Rose. As in the opening track, this tune has comedic interjections from frontman Jack Bell as he theatrically performs 'go quietly, and do not run!'
Snowflakes starts in a similar vein to the rest with fast-paced action, but Bell absolutely shines in this track with the slower, quieter instrumental through the middle portion of the track. The tune is a perfect blend of soulful passages and chuggy classic heavy metal to perfectly explore the plight of the 'snowflake' generation to getting success in the world with no preparation. A poignant topic for a thoughtful instrumental arrangement.
Lastly, opening with a seriously hard riff, Ecstasy is a moody final piece to close the collection. The verses are crafted for a melodic, mellow contrast to the pulsating conquest of the choruses. Huge vocal runs and pure power rule the roost here though, and the close bond between the band is more obvious than ever.
Overall, an unbelievable debut from Dark Matter. The production is immaculate and professional, performances from each member all link with chemistry and the songwriting capabilities are evident for the world to see.