Planks "The Darkest of Grays" LPPosted on Monday, December 13th, 2010 @ 6:58am » permalink
"The Darkest of Grays" (released by Per Koro Records) sees Germany's Planks taking their hard-hitting brand of surging, sludgy metallic hardcore in a few slightly new directions. Each side of the LP acts as one portion of the concept as a whole ("Passages" and "Fatalities"), both introduced by light washes of ambient drones and samples. As with their last outing the recording is absolutely awesome – with perfectly natural, resonant percussion setting the foundation for warmly-textured guitars and bass to lock together alongside burly vocals that are super powerful and in your face without falling out in front of the instrumentation. I'd say the core of their approach is still largely based around that His Hero is Gone style of surging hardcore/punk power chords accented by forceful, dissonant melodies, but there are now some unexpected transitions towards harshly acerbic guitar textures, chilling clean passages, and even a handful of riffs that have a frenzied black metal type of aesthetic going on. As is often the case it all boils down to killer riffs and strong songwriting in the end, though, and I think that's the main "difference" here. The band's past efforts were indeed strong, but everything comes across as more… well, I hate to say "mature", but… yeah. Everything comes across as more mature here. It's heavier, more emotional, and there's more thought behind both the lyrics and the musicianship. Here's a taste:
A few weeks after the release of the LP, the band decided to make the entire 42-minute album available as a free download as well. You'll not only get high-quality mp3's, but also .pdf's containing the lyrics and background information on the concept of the album:
Of course, I always encourage you to show some support with a purchase if you like what you hear. The LP (which is limited to 500 copies, of which 150 are on white vinyl) doesn't seem to have any distribution in the US at the moment, but you can still purchase online using the links below, or get in touch with the band directly. A CD pressing is said to be in the works, too.
Four more songs were recorded during these sessions, and those should see the light as a one-sided 12" EP with an etched B-side early next year, so keep an eye out for that as well…