Gold Key's Track By Track Guide To Panic Machine

Gold Key frontman Steve Sears reveals the stories behind each song on new album Panic Machine

Gold Key's Track By Track Guide To Panic Machine

Hertfordshire experimentalists Gold Key have released the follow-up to their 2017 debut Hello, Phantom. The 12-track odyssey sees the band explore the worlds of prog, '80s soft rock, hardcore and alt.metal, all culminating in Panic Machine. Throughout the record, the band wrestle with big topics like depression and climate change, channelling them through a glistening prism of progressive music.

Here, mainman Steve Sears gives us the track-by-track lowdown on what Panic Machine is all about.

Sweet Darkness

"This was the first track written for Panic Machine, it also opens the album and our live set. It’s probably the heaviest track we've done in the traditional sense, so it kicks the record off with a bang. The world can be an odd environment in which to find your purpose, especially right now. It's something I struggle with a lot – as do most people, I imagine. We are constantly bombarded with ideals to strive for, goals to achieve and relentlessly pressured to play certain roles within society."

Don't Sleep

"The song seems pretty prophetic in hindsight; it talks about isolation and the huge effect the world around us has on our minds. It's crazy that we isolated as a group in the Welsh countryside to record the album and now we're isolated from each other."


"Shallows was a late addition to Panic Machine. I wanted to really push the boat out one last time and have this song take you on a wild journey like some of my favourite songs. Maybe it’s our Paranoid Android, albeit completely different stylistically."

Mechanical World

"We unleashed this track last year and it’s become one of our most solid live tracks. It addresses the insane Panic Machine that today’s world can be. It can feel like we’re all just churning through the motions at times. It was the main inspiration for the artwork of the album."

Trick Of The Light

"Trick Of The Light is one of our proggiest endeavours to date. It’s spacey instrumentation is a joy to play so it came together really quickly. The lyrics are purely lunar escapism. It’s a kaleidoscope of fantasy."


"The track is about escaping entrapment, so I guess that's pretty appropriate for how most of us are feeling right now. It’s a real floaty track, and explores a more euphoric mood that we aren’t particularly known for. The soft layers of stuff like Tears For Fears and '80s music were definitely in mind when I put this track together."


"This song could be our most honest yet. It was recorded live with a couple of overdubs like a lot of tracks on the album. We just set up and played through it together a handful of times; I think you can hear that in Strain more than anywhere else on Panic Machine. The lyrics deal with strain and pressure hounding you like a bully, waiting for you at every turn."

Fly Into The Sun

"It’s amazing putting our playing to the test with our new material and this one’s no exception. It takes you on a rollercoaster ride of quirks and surprises. There are a lot of cool riffs jammed into Fly Into The Sun, maybe it’s our roots in heavy music bubbling to the surface?"

A Crack In The Earth

"We are exponentially destroying our planet, it’s as simple as that. Before now I’ve always avoided preaching as I am, of course, a hypocrite in many ways. I didn’t get into music to start a crusade or set an agenda. However, I’m getting old enough to see how much the planet has changed in my short lifetime. A lot of people have seemingly bigger concerns than the environment, but it really is time to make a change in the way that everyone of us lives on this planet."


"This one is pretty literal; it deals with sadness. I go through pretty severe depression for long periods of time, as do many other people. For anyone who doesn’t, always remember that nobody is choosing to be sad. It’s a strange conflict of emotions that is hard to explain – feeling guilty, selfish and ungrateful for feeling depressed."


"This track is a brief melting pot of insane effects and manipulated chops from other songs on Panic Machine – it was a lot of fun to make."

The Best Of Luck

"I love the simplicity of this song – it’s one of our most direct yet. I love the intense sinister feel it has. The lyrics are about resent and how it can eat you if you let it. You come across a lot of bitter people throughout your life and it's important not to let them drag you down to their level. Self-loathing is a big part of creativity and improvement, but you should never compare your achievements to your peers. You are your own person, embrace it. And best of luck."

Panic Machine is out now on Venn Records.

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