Formed in late-2018, Panem is a collision of fiery guitars, powerful vocals and insightful lyricism wrapped up in a head-banging, spine-chilling package. Compared to the likes of Skunk Anansie and Fleetwood Mac, the France-based foursome have a distinctive and unique sound. Inspired by the works of Franz Kafka, Anotonio Gamsci and George Orwell, Panem explores themes of propaganda, dystopian societies and monopolies in their evocative material. In fact, the name Panem was taken from the Latin expression “panem et circenses” (bread and games or circuses) denouncing the egotism and narcissism of Roman Emporers.
Since their formation, the group has grabbed the attention of music critics across the globe having featured on The Other Side Reviews, BangerSound, Punktum, Somos Grandes, Indie Top 39 and Barry Gruff – to name but a few sites. The latest addition to their mind-blowing discography is the single ‘The Empty Man’.
Merging the sounds of Shinedown, Halestorm and Van Halen, ‘The Empty Man’ is certainly far heavier than the previous singles. This is not to say that ‘Zeitgeist/ Absolute Monopoly’ or ‘Face Tomorrow’ lack any hard rock sound, but ‘The Empty Man’ incorporates more forceful guitars and pounding drums placing it in the realm of melodic metal. Taking their distinctive stance on provocative material, Panem’s new single examines the idea of a “new totalitarianism in our societies where freedom and democracy are taken for granted”. With the desperate ambience set by the dynamic instrumentation, Panem’s sound helps one feel the situation rather than just listening to the moving lyrics.
What I truly adore about Panem’s music is the prominent vocals of frontwoman Marie Morrow. Effortlessly complementing the scorching drums and guitars, her soaring vocals add a sense of empowerment with a lingering melancholy. ‘The Empty Man’ retains Marie’s vocal similarity to Skin; however, the haunting quality sends chills throughout one’s body in the style of Amy Lee. Delicate but with a rich robustness, the track showcases the fragility of society with the domineering “Big Brother” perspective. Not necessarily a protest song, but certainly a single that could make one question their current situation.