PLANKS - The Darkest of Grays LP
Per Koro Records
Genre: Post Metal/HC
While writing a review for a TOMBS full length compilation release last year I said this German band, who did a split with TOMBS in 2008, sucked but I was basing it on my opinion of that particular release. I didn't think much of that TOMBS release either just for the record. Of course it's not always good to start off a review with hatred, malice and disgust as part of your overall attitude. Although in my case it seems to be a prerequisite of late especially when dealing with post metal sounding bands. These guys are obviously a decade behind the curve since they sound like all of those acts in the 90s who started copying HELMET after they released Betty. Yeah those were some fun days, not. One thing which is cool is that the band has this release available for free download at their MySpace site. How punk rock of them, yeah give it all away before Relapse buys the rights. Be quick about it before some Indie Rock clown screams "Post Metal" revival. OK I apologise for that since Indy Rockers don't have revivals. They just steal other people's music formulas and claim them for their own. Actually after listening to this a few times I think these Germans are on top of the whole HELMET copycat pile on.
At least for their sake The Darkest of Grays has a gritty sound to it much like Strap it On or the earlier Born Annoying 7"er. To me that's a plus for them although I have to wonder if any of these guys, there's three of em, are the bastard offspring of Page Hamilton. But seriously this could be Re-Born Annoying and that's not saying it's a bad thing. I feel for the idiot who calls this Sludge, so much for their journalistic reputation. PLANKS sound formidable on here as if it was 1989 and not 2011. I believe this actually came out a few months ago, oops! Oh well they even add some post black metal although they're just too fuckin heavy to cruise with the MY BLOODY VALENTINE in corpse paint crowd. Although I wouldn't count out the idea of some fool trying to drag em into that. The Darkest of Grays does take a few cuts into it for the meat to be exposed and some fun reveals itself. "Long Live Depravity" opens with a bass and drum intro straight from TSOL's "Sounds of Laughter" but then cranks into the HELMET meets FUGAZI double bill sound from the 9:30 club show. "The Dead Return to War" could be filed under sludge sans the groove and replacing it with death doom atmospheric melody. "Fallen Empires are Ruling" sounds like a less epic but more depressive PRIMORDIAL. With the exception of the two sample intros "Denaturer" and "Fantasmes" the rest of The Darkest of Grays has more going for it than what I'd say for most post metal crap. Obviously having a formula which worked well in the past helps them immensely plus the feral vocals and overall morbid atmosphere will chase away the hipster losers. Strangely enough the title cut, which comes near the end of this, is the most powerful song on here with the final cut "A Casket City", a piano melancholy being the worst.