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Planks: The Darkest of Grays/Solicit to Fall

Southern Lord has packaged Planks latest two releases, their 2010 album The Darkest of Grays and their 2011 EP Solicit to Fall together and made them available for the first time on CD. Planks combine elements of sludge, grind, death, doom, hardcore, and post-metal and, unlike many that attempt the same, mange to stay in control of this concoction and create a rough-but-steady ride, the shifting intensity creating spacey, atmospheric and dissonant melodic moments and their dark and brooding qualities hitting hard and resonating deep.

The dynamic across The Darkest of Grays is vast, always shifting, but never without purpose. The meditation on the confines of the senses in both the spoken word 'Passages' that opens the album and 'Fantasmes' are both chilling and disarming. 'Sacred and Secret' combines black metal intensity in its up-tempo, strummed chords with post metal mourning in its protracted verses and sits in direct opposition to the open chords that open 'Tentacles' build into a labyrinthine maze of towering complexity. The sedate and shadowy instrumental 'We are Translucent', as if a lucid dream, brings another dimension to the album. The pounding desert-like 'Long Live Depravity' contrasts with the doom-inspired 'The Dead return To War', 'Fallen Empires Are Ruling', and 'The Darkest of Grays'. And the piano of the closing instrumental 'A Casket City' augments the haunting sound of the album. The remaining four tracks are that of EP Solicit to Fall and show a band that has not rested on their laurels and is still searching and developing their already-distinct sound, 'Miasma' in particular is an extraordinary piece.

Ralph Schmidt's guitar, Frank Hörsch's bass and Benjamin Hintz's drums work together and the instruments are balanced in the mix, the band and album thriving on this democratic approach. Schmidt's vocals consist of loud growls, which, granted, are fairly typical for the genres that this band integrates into their distinguished sound, yet where some either flatly refuse or are incapable of deviating from this style, he succeeds in bringing to them an edginess that works with and reinforces the songs. Comparisons with Isis and Neurosis are going to be inevitable for Planks, but their raw, aggressive sound is slightly softer and is underpinned by an overall melancholy and dark mood. With Isis defunct and Neurosis taking their time to deliver new material, Planks are not just a mere substitute or a gap-filler. Planks are a band whose material will appeal to listeners that may not necessarily go for those bands and their associated genres. This is for fans of experimental sounds and for those who like discovering new worlds. Check 'em out, you won't be disappointed.


Track Listing

  1. Passage
  2. Sacred And Secret
  3. Tentcles (Solitude Prevails)
  4. We Are Translucent
  5. Long Live Depravity
  6. The Dead Return To War
  7. Fantasmes
  8. No Solid Grounds
  9. Fallen Empires Are Ruling
  10. Scarlet Inside
  11. The Darkest Of Grays
  12. A Casket City
  13. …And Rivers Will Flow
  14. Into The Nothingness Within
  15. Miasma
  16. It Just Can't (L.S.F.D.)

Added: June 25th 2011
Reviewer: Jason Guest
Score:
Related Link: Band MySpace
Hits: 1970
Language: english

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