Nothing makes you appreciate life as much as when you have almost lost your own. On November 3rd, 2022, Silent Planet suffered through every touring band’s worst nightmare. The band was driving through a blinding snowstorm in Wyoming early in the morning when the driver hit a patch of black ice causing the van to flip over. Miraculously, the band members survived with only minor injuries.
Being a touring band that gets their livelihood from being on the road, the totaled van and other damaged equipment was a terrible setback for the band. A successful crowd-funding campaign and very supportive fanbase saw the band back on the road, but not without the impact that the accident had on them individually and as a band. On the lead up to the news of this release, long-time bassist Thomas Freckleton announced his departure in June 2023 with Nick Pocock taking over bass duties. “Superbloom” is the first album with this new lineup and released on the one year anniversary of the van accident.
To set the stage for this album, let’s go through what a superbloom is. A superbloom is when dormant wildflowers in the desert all bloom in a fantastic show of color. Environmental conditions have to be just right for this to occur so it doesn’t happen often, however, the 2023 California superbloom was reported to be so prolific that it could be seen from space.
The combination of the personal tragedy and triumph with the unique botanical event is the inspiration of the latest Silent Planet album, “Superbloom.” Known for their emotive, heartfelt brand of metalcore, this album shows the band moving in a different direction by embracing more post-rock elements mixed in with their characteristic sound. The melodic vocals are not overly sweet, like a European pastry, which gives you just enough to refresh your palate, but not overly addictive like an American doughnut. Although not a concept album, it is stitched together beautifully as a cohesive cinematic experience somewhat akin to a polished indie film.
The focus of their art is all in the presentation and emotion, with less emphasis on technical instrumental or vocal performance, although I particularly enjoyed the drum work on this album. It was the point of clarity around the less firm musical elements. I really enjoyed the microtonal elements that are throughout the album, particularly the descending guitar riff on “Collider” and the synth riff on “Antimatter.” The depth of the instrumentation is more than expected for metalcore with plenty of keyboard support setting a colorful canvas.
The songs are rather short and I didn’t think of them as songs in the traditional sense. The traditional structures of verse and chorus are not emphasized where the songs organically flow from one section to the other in quick succession. I noticed more use of ambient musical space; “The Overgrowth” being a great example. This ambiance permeates the album to a point where the usual sharper musical colors of hardcore and breakdowns are more muted and smoothed. Even the clean vocals are less hook-laden than peer metalcore bands. After listening through, my ear is left with small fragments of memories while I felt like I had made an emotional journey. In the end, I can’t whistle a tune from the album.
Lyrically, the songs are profound and worth reading through. The lyrics give great insights into what an artist is working through when faced with mortality. Two songs that I really enjoyed on the album and good examples of this lyrical theme are “Antimatter” and “SUPERBLOOM.”
“Antimatter” is inspired by the van accident and different elements of the song pull the listener into the experience. The drum beat that starts is about the pace of a heart signaling they are still alive. The synth riff with its subtle microtonal waverings give a somewhat broken feel which ties into the lyrics. In typical fashion for Silent Planet, the lyrics are open for interpretation. I got the sense that the song was contemplating leaving this life for the next within the wreckage of life, but that we are all connected in this fight.
“SUPERBLOOM” is a straight up post-rock style with plenty of melodic vocals providing a soothing end to the journey. There are some flare-ups with some harsh vocals, but the song sets a cool atmosphere. There is an underlying desire in the lyrics to fade into the radio transmission and or the superbloom which seems like contemplating what does it mean when we give up our spirit here on earth or belonging to a greater consciousness.
Silent Planet has been on my radar for a while, but for one reason or another they never clicked with me until I spent some quality time with this album. “Superbloom” is a tremendous artistic album and a great addition for anyone who is open to metalcore outside of the mainstream chop and stop. Overall it is less harsh than their previous release, “Iridescent.” If you were curious about Silent Planet but suspicious of the metalcore label for them, “Superbloom” would be worth checking out.
Written by Sean Bailey
1 – Lights off the Lost Coast
2 – Offworlder
3 – Collider
4 – Euphoria
5 – Dreamwalker
6 – Antimatter
7 – :Signal:
8 – Anunnaki
9 – The Overgrowth
10 – Nexus
11 – Reentry
12 – SUPERBLOOM
Silent Planet is:
Garrett Russell – lead vocals, guitars
Mitchell Stark – guitars, keyboards, clean vocals
Alex Camarena – drums
Nick Pocock – bass
Release Date: November 3, 2023
Record Label: Solid State Records
Come Wind, Come Weather – EP (2012)
The Night God Slept (2014)
Lastsleep (1944-1946) – EP (2014)
Everything Was Sound (2016)
When the End Began (2018)
Videos for Offworlder
Video for Collider
Video for Antimatter
Video for Annunaki
Visualizer video for SUPERBLOOM