Silent Planet – ‘Iridescent’

By Dave Stewart

Silent Planet are a band whose searing honesty and emotional intensity has transformed them from a good band into a great one. Melding the crushing musical fluidity of their ranks with a gut-wrenchingly candid lyrical approach creates not only an impact but also a feeling, and it’s powerful enough to travel through you. Their delivery hit an all-time high on 2019’s ‘When The End Began’, and brand new album ‘Iridescent’ sees them weave a whole new series of tales through their metallic tapestry.

As the industrial-sounding ‘1-1-2’ slowly intensifies and builds the anticipation with its bellowing drones, ‘Translate The Night’ arrives and kicks the record off in perfect Silent Planet style. Irregular stabs, eerie atmospherics and the unmistakable vocal power of front man Garrett Russell all burst into action, guiding you through a series of big riffs and bigger choruses that show they’re picking up exactly where they left off. As the record progresses, though, it becomes quickly clear that they’re doing a little bit more than that.

‘Second Sun’ sees them lean a little harder into their melodic side, using borderline frantic riffing and the dual vocal attack of Russell and bassist/vocalist Thomas Freckleton to drive its gigantic chorus skyward. ‘Till We Have Faces’ is a taste of something similar, starting as a gentle lullaby and gradually morphing into an anthemic giant. Then there’s ‘Terminal’, a track that beautifully tells the heart-wrenching tale of Russell’s battle with despair and hopelessness which is one of the spine-tingling highlights of the album. There is of course plenty of heaviness to be found here too, and it’s just as weighty and destructive as it’s ever been.

The futuristic electronic undertones of ‘Panopticon’ create an unhinged and unsettling vibe that turns the track into a ticking time-bomb, and when it explodes you find yourself completely enveloped by the blast. ‘Trilogy’ is a masterclass in intensity, with drummer Alex Camarena drastically and masterfully adjusting the dynamics at moments notice for maximum impact and rocketing them towards the concluding cataclysmic breakdown. Then there’s Mitchell Stark’s relentless guitar assault on ‘Anhedonia’, the ominous darkness within ‘The Sound Of Sleep’ (which feels like a successor to the previous record’s ‘Vanity of Sleep’), the technical magnificence, unpredictable brutality and cries of “fuck the system” on ‘Alive, as a Housefire’ – if you’re already a fan, you’ll be lapping up every second of this.

However – and it’s a very minor point – the pace is very up and down. Just as the record feels like it’s getting into its stride it changes and though every track can strongly stand alone, as a whole often feels like the flow of the punches sometimes fall out of rhythm. This is still a brilliant record though, without a doubt, and if you’re a fan of the genre this needs to be an instant add to your must-listen list.

This album is every bit as impressive as you could’ve hoped for, frequently flooding your senses with insatiable colours and washing them away to reveal the bleak, stark themes hiding behind them. The music is gushing with technical precision and beautiful textural nuances, but it’s Russell’s lyrics and delivery that steal the show, poetically exorcising his demons and spilling himself all over the canvas that his band are holding up for him. Everything might musically sound like it’s a little brighter, but thematically it’s just as devastating as ever, and you feel every ounce of the pain that’s on display.

‘Iridescent’ is wonderfully paced and very neatly balanced, stepping into slightly different territory by spending a lot less time basking in the darkness that their past material championed. That’s not to say that this isn’t a heavy album – it absolutely is – but the heaviness isn’t relied on as much, and the end result is far more expansive. We would’ve been happy to get another album like ‘When The End Began’, and though this doesn’t pack the same cohesive blow it’s wonderful to see them continue to evolve and introduce new elements to their sound. Modern day metalcore doesn’t get much better than this.

DAVE STEWART

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