posted on 7/2007 By:
If you listen to metal or metal-related music, you’ve probably come to terms with one of metal’s central features: it’s a DIY culture, so everyone’s got a band. This means that the vast majority of said bands will be imitations of a handful of truly original acts. As I see it, there are two possible responses to this truth. Either you can castigate all sound-alike acts as redundant and artistically worthless, or you can enjoy the better replicas for their sincerity and craftsmanship. As a reviewer I’m obviously in the latter category, and that’s why I can enjoy releases like this self-titled debut EP from Planetstruck. Though much of this will sound utterly familiar to fans of 90’s noise rock, this little rocker is just earnest and pissed enough to be entertaining without being particularly memorable.
Sometimes people describe bands via comparison to other bands out of laziness, but these guys are just begging for it: Planetstruck sound a LOT like Unsane. The grinding, distorted bass stomps, grainy punkish guitars and drummer Darrin’s sparse but aggressive off-kilter grooves all hearken strongly to New York’s finest aural mudslingers. Even guitarist/vocalist Mike’s noticeably distorted shout isn’t too far from Chris Spencer’s, and the mean-spirited trudging of “Eating Staples” and gravelly three-chord riffing of opener “White Squall” are solid tributes to their forbearers. That said, there’s a little more going on here structurally than seems at first. Though largely aggressive and direct, these guys will sometimes fall back on an odd, hallucinatory tension-and-release dynamic that sounds like a more rock take on “Wingwalker”-era Shellac. This is most obvious on “The Ham and Eggs Fire,” which opens with a bucolic but slightly eerie guitar arpeggio underscored by nervous cymbal taps before breaking into dragging, slightly spastic noise rock over which Mike’s vocals vacillate from ranting spoken word to warbling song to blown-out screams. Unfortunately, this is where Planetstruck’s abilities fail them; the vocals aren’t quite so convincing here, and the band lacks the melodic sensibility and ebb-and-flow precision required to pull off the sound.
For the most part, though, this is a pretty respectable chunk of very Unsanely noise rock/metal/whatever. In all honesty I probably won’t return to this release and the band currently lacks both the ability and distinctiveness required to make an impact, I find myself enjoying this release for its punk rock dontgiveafuckness and raw, genuine aggression…and because I’m a sucker for this shit. The question you need to ask yourself before pursuing Planetstruck is this: considering that Visqueen just came out, do you really need to hear a lesser band playing the same style?
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