Forward thinking metalcore with a message.
One of the most talked about bands in the heavy music scene right now is Silent Planet, and with good fucking reason. Their new album, ‘Everything Was Sound’, has been getting rave reviews from critics and fans alike, and I am here to also say that sweet fiery balls of Allah, this album really is the dog's bollocks!
After two so-so EP’s and a decent debut full-length, album number two from this L.A. quintet was released at the very start of July. Honestly, I hadn't been that big fan of these guys until I first heard the album's pre-release singles, upon which I immediately began to rectify my initial thoughtcrime. But after spending a lot of time with this new record since it's release, I can safely say that 'Everything Was Sound' is indeed the goods, and then some.
A plethora of bands these days talk about how they have something to say in their music, that it's not just style, but real, honest substance too, guys! However, the cold hard truth is that many artists and bands just don't have the creativity or the ability to pull that off, and just come across like they're talking massive piles of utter shit in interviews and press releases alike. Well, that isn't a problem for Silent Planet as they really do have something to say in their music and lyrics, and goddamnit does their music hit HARD!
Take ‘Panic Room' for instance, one of the standout songs of the album. It's a sonically heavy and emotionally harrowing song that deals with the crippling effects of PTSD. Elsewhere, Underoath & Sleepwave's Spencer Chamberlain lends his voice to the devastating ‘Psychescape’, a powerful ode to those that battle with schizophrenia day in, day out. A later track like the epic ‘Nervosa‘ is about the severe nature of eating disorders - in any extreme - and what we see when we look in the mirror. Whereas 'Orphan' and ‘No Place To Breathe’ go more external and deal with choosing hatred over love, and the grey area of fighting violence with violence and if that will really beget lasting peace in our world. Each track deals with mental illness of some kind, whether it's created by societal constructions, by the very psyche of the individual, or a combination of the two. I found it nigh on impossible not to engage with this very heavy, very real material and not feel something for it. These are gripping, poignant themes and discussions that are backed up by superb music. This album fully nails the notion that great lyrics and themes can turn familiar musical templates into something truly special.
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Silent Planet has also challenged the idea of what metalcore means in 2016. See, they are a metalcore band in the same sense that Architects, Northlane and August Burns Red are metalcore bands. By that, I mean that there's more to them than just sing-scream dual vocal styles, down-tuned guitar chugs, and endless breakdowns. That isn't to say these guys don't have breakdowns, heavy riffs or alternate between singing and screaming; they most certainly do. But SP's music does not solely rely on those elements, that's the difference. Their music has a far grander sense of musical intricacy to the rhythms, the melodic layers, the instrumentation, as well as showcasing deeper levels of ambient and atmospheric elements better than most other acts can. Excluding the two instrumental songs, ('Tout Comprendre' and 'C’est Tout Pardonner'), the band collides these two worlds of soft and heavy, of light and dark together for maximum, spine-tingling effect.
While we're on the band's superb songwriting, one fine example is ‘RedriveЯ’. See, the lyrics flow through a structure of A to B, but then at the halfway point they flow backwards, from B to A. I don’t think I have ever heard a palindromic song with mirrored lyrics like this before in heavy music, and despite being a little gimmicky, it is brilliant. Simply fucking brilliant. Musically, the song itself is fantastic and the lyrical composition is just that extra delicious cherry on top.
But part of what makes this record so potent is that there's such a “realness” to this record’s mix and it’s overall production. Especially in the drumming, with the drum tones and the way that they fit into the mix. As a comparison for this record, think of Northlane’s ‘Node’, just with much better songs to it (still love ya, 'Lane). ‘Everything Was Sound’ is a very dynamic record, so much so that the lighter, softer sections truly allow for the heavier, harder-hitting moments to land with that much more impact. There are vast peaks and nulls across this record and it flows between these dynamic highs and lows effortlessly.
I also found that the themes and impact of this record would be nowhere near as effective if the band's music was less heavy and fell into say, the pop-punk world (good god, that would be weird). Or funnily enough, if it even fell into the realms of brutal, extreme metal (again, that would also be very weird). Silent Planet has struck a fine balance between this brand of progressive music, post-hardcore and metalcore; a balance that is very familiar but also deep, surreal and truly cohesive.
Finally, if you saw the track-by-track video that Blink-182 did for ‘California’ you may have thought, ‘Fuck me, these guys are so much better at writing and playing their music then talking about it!' Well, you’re not alone, as I also found that to be the case. So if you’d like to see a band get really in-depth with a self-analysis of their own record, then vocalist Garret Russell’s track-by-track for 'Everything Was Sound' is absolutely necessary viewing!
From 'Inherit The Earth' to 'Inhabit The Wound', Silent Planet's latest offering is an earth-shattering record. No, for real! It's a dark, crushing, yet beautiful and surreal record that discusses mental illness, both in the external world and in the internal world of our own minds. If your ears are weary of the repetitive drivel and lacklustre shite that litters the heavy music landscape these days, then Silent Planet could very well be your breath of fresh air. They were for me.
1. Inherit The Earth
3. Dying In Circles
4. Understanding Love As Loss
5. Tout Comprendre
6. Panic Room
9. C’est Tout Pardonner
11. No Place To Breathe
12. First Father
13. Inhabit The Wound