“Panem et circenses” (roughly translating to “bread and games or circuses”) is a Latin phrase often used for denouncing the egotism of Roman emperors and is the phrase that serves as an inspiration behind the French progressive rock band known as Panem.
Our discovery of Panem came as a result of the band’s debut single release on Spotify. Titled ‘Zeitgeist / Absolute Monopoly’, their first single absolutely wowed us with its amazing depth and progression, which made it feel like a truly immersive and compelling experience. In fact, we would even go so far as to say that it was one of our favourite tracks of 2020. With that being said, we were obviously excited to know that this track was also going to serve as the title track for Panem‘s debut mini Album.
Following the release of the aforementioned title track, Panem had blessed us with another four teaser tracks in 2020, all leading up to the ambition to get 2021 off to an accomplished start by releasing their debut mini-album in the earliest month of the year.
The second teaser track, ‘Breathe, Pretender’ masterfully switches between a forebodingly deep heaviness and beautiful melodies. And as other tracks followed, such as the soaring epicness of ‘A Line in the Sand’, the intimate and indulgent softness of ‘Something I Don’t Know’, and the engaging groove of ‘Face Tomorrow’, one thing became incredibly clear to us; Zeitgeist / Absolute Monopoly had already portrayed itself as a project with an incredibly versatile range of moods, even before its full release.
But even with the sheer amount of previously released tracks for us to sink our teeth into, we were still incredibly excited for the full release of Zeitgeist / Absolute Monopoly, and that time has finally arrived. The release of this album comes with one more track to listen to, making Zeitgeist / Absolute Monopoly a collection of 6 tracks; each of them with a generous enough runtime to turn them from tracks to full-blown experiences.
Each of these experiences offers a completely different feel, while still being aesthetically consistent enough for each of them to give us a good sense of who Panem are as a band.
The newest and final track of this project, ‘The Empty Man’, feels like the real stamp of approval, when it comes to this Album’s versatility. And on top of being versatile, every corner of Zeitgeist / Absolute Monopoly is thoroughly enjoyable and engaging, and each of the individual moods is done a great deal of justice.
Whether you’re a fan of Kansas, or a fan of Tool, or just a fan of rock music in general, we absolutely recommend that you dive into Zeitgeist / Absolute Monopoly. And the same applies to all the eclectic music lovers as well, as this project is sure to cater to your longing for versatility.
This debut album truly does spell great things for this awesome band, and we hope that sense of intimacy and exploration sticks around for good.
Make sure to connect with Panem and support their music