Planet Eater bring us Blackness From The Stars
Comparisons to Morbid Angel, Gojira, Converge, Strapping Young Lad, Sepultura, Deftones, and Neurosis? Guest reviewer Hans drops in to find out if Planet Eater have bitten off more than they can chew.
If you’re gonna promote music these days, you need a hook. A description that will make the spoiled consumer perk up and halt their rabid devouring of auditory goods, if only for a few minutes. Maybe you need to exaggerate a little bit. So what do you go with? For their debut Blackness from the Stars, Planet Eater’s PR went with, “For fans of Morbid Angel, Gojira, Converge, Strapping Young Lad, Sepultura, Deftones, Neurosis.” Okay. Tossing out big-ass band names like that could be called exaggerating a little bit, I guess. Trying to cast a net as wide as possible is probably not uncommon practice, but this particular combo seemed so peculiar that I can’t help but hold them to their word and actually go through that list of references (also, I’m almost a full paragraph in, so I’m kinda committed to this angle now). At least the pitch seems to have worked, seeing as it made me click Play. Join me in my curiosity and we’ll see which of these actually sticks.
Strapping Young Lad: Starting with this one because it’s giving me the most to work with… which is still not a lot. I could see that beginning riff to opener “The Boats” on one of the later SYL albums, which is the case for a number of other riffs on here. Often giving off a machine-like feel, they somewhat resemble SYL’s slight industrial tinge. Sixth track “Kill On Sight” kind of reminds me of one of their more straightforward bangers (think “Relentless” or maybe “Dirt Pride”). It’s easily the most energetic song on here and kicks off what proves to be a bit of a stride which Planet Eater maintain throughout the next two songs, which, taken together, nicely show off every facet of their sound and make for my favourite part of this record.
Converge: They’re next because I’d say they’re the most hardcore on this list. By this point, you’ve likely heard Planet Eater’s vocals, and you’ll probably agree that they’d be right at home in a tuff guy New York hardcore band… which I realise Converge are not. Nevertheless, I suspect they were chosen as a reference mostly to highlight Planet Eater’s metallic hardcore leanings, present in said vocals and really coming to the front during the first half of “Pile of Bones,” the aforementioned sixth track, or the more mid-tempo “Lies Evolution.”
Gojira/Neurosis: Gotta admit I’m not super familiar with these two, so I’m tackling them together. The subtly melodic backing vocals in the chorus of “Cold Confines” did indeed make me think of Gojira… but I think at this point I was straining to make the connection. Comparable moments occur in “The Spoil,” but definitely remain the exception. That track is probably also the one bearing the most direct connection to Neurosis. I’d say the slow, repetitive groove comes closest to a post-metal feel, but Planet Eater never feel as weighty and heady as what I’ve heard from Neurosis. Referencing such a multi-style band can be problematic, but I think Planet Eater share this air of not feeling restricted to one particular genre, even if comparing them to Neurosis just for that is a bit of an oversell.
Morbid Angel: Uhh… nope. No idea why they stuck this in. Next.
Sepultura: This one begs the question which Sepultura we’re talking about. Being the outlaw metal thingamabob that I totally am, I of course only like their earlier stuff, so all I can tell you is that nothing Planet Eater does really sounds like anything up to and including Chaos A.D.
Deftones: See above; my elitist status forbids me from really listening to them, but nothing here sounds like “Back to School” or “My Own Summer,” at least.
Alright, that’s that. Seven bands were on the table, and as far as I can tell, none of them made for a really accurate comparison, although I’d certainly like to hear your opinion on this. I don’t think this is bad; there are probably more fitting references, but among all these bands clamouring for a unique sound and our attention, I’d say Planet Eater (and their PR) are doing pretty well. The vocals were a turnoff for me at first, but in the end, their penchant for nimbly shifting gears and genres kept me thoroughly entertained, for which I award them a solid –
4 out of 5 Flaming Toilets Ov Hell