Planetary is a self-proclaimed Instrumental “blackened power” metal band. I have been wanting to review some underground Power metal for a while, since I love hearing good stuff from that genre, and the other genre tags piqued my interest, but also threw up some warning flags at the same time. In the end, it all just doesn’t really come together.
There is just a lack of sense when the pretty sounding ambient synth into is called “Annihilation of all You Hold Dear”. There is just no evocation of ‘Annihilation’ here at all. It is an interesting piece, but it doesn't really lead into the next track, nor does it give the listener any insight into what is to follow on the remainder of this EP.
“Earth’s End” starts off with a similar eerie, yet pleasant piano/synth intro before the ‘black metal’ kicks in. The blackened aspect of all these songs is basically simple four note riffs tremolo’d with some programmed blasts underneath, which isn’t necessarily bad, but it doesn’t sit comfortably with the rest of the music. There is an awesome Dream Theater-like riff that kicks in at around 1:30 but the song takes a dive into another ambient part before picking up with another cool melody before the end of the song, which sports a tasteful solo as well.
That seems to be the way most of the songs here work: ambient, power and ‘black’ parts strung together, without any real repetition. I understand that being instrumental, the idea here is to probably pack a bunch of cool ideas in and not let the songs get repetitive or boring. This is a good idea in theory, but transitions between parts are often shaky and some repetition of riffs and themes would help make the songs feel more like songs and less like collections of riffs.
The instruments are all well performed/programmed. The guitar especially shines through with lots of good melodies and leads that are simple, yet effective and compliment the riffs. “Arrival” has some wicked leads on it and probably the most song-like structure of all the pieces here.
The ambient tracks, the aforementioned intro to the album along with “Desolate Space” are cool ideas, but they don’t stick around long enough to really develop into anything special. If the ideas on this album were split into two projects: One metal and one Ambient, it could be beneficial to the compositions and overall flow and feel.
So, there’s some cool stuff here, but it just isn’t all gel. A lack of vocals means the music has to stand up on its own, and it just isn’t strong enough. There’s an identity crisis going on here that holds back the potential.
Tex's rating: 60%
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