REVIEW: Silent Planet – Iridescent (Album)

From Southern California and set to release their fourth full-length, Silent Planet are poised to make their mark on modern metal. Since forming in 2009, Silent Planet have grown in following, touring alongside the likes of Northlane and August Burns Red. Iridescent is a blend of modern metal that focuses heavily on telling a story set against cinematic soundscapes, and its twelve tracks showcase the astonishing heights Silent Planet can reach.

The opening instrumental sets a grandiose tone, with cinematic blasts and ominous synths. It paves the way for Silent Planet to dive straight into Translate The Night. The bassy production blends nicely with the harsher guitar scrapes. Vocalist Garrett Russell is instantly firing on all cylinders, utilising harsh growls and a shouted singing style somewhat similar to Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley. Garrett transitions between the two with ease, which in turn allows the dynamic shift of clean vocals in the chorus and second verse to feel impactful yet welcome. It’s clear that Silent Planet are accomplished musicians, as Trilogy comes in with a blistering riff at blinding speeds. There are elements of their contemporaries here, such as Architects style breakdowns and ERRA influenced choruses, but it never falls prey to sounding copycat. Garrett’s repeated, increasingly anguished calls of “It’s always red, the static in my head” feels visceral, and as drums join the atmosphere is palpable before the breakdown. The stylistic choice to then have the vocals glitch out into static is apt. 

Second Sun focuses much more on the melodic side, with a soaring chorus and slower atmospheric sections. It’s a well written modern metalcore track, which draws from the foundations of what Architects built, the emotional aspect of it latching onto the empathic part of your brain. Consistently present throughout Iridiscent is its impassioned and heartwrenching performance, which elevates the album as a whole. In the same vein is single Terminal, a very personal experience where Garrett recounts his time in a mental hospital. Questioning the human condition, screams are interspersed between echoing cleans; mirroring how one might cry out for help in between deep periods of numbness. The instrumentals are more reserved to allow the emotional weight to flourish, though they are still encapsulating – a testament to Silent Planet’s writing ability. 

Second single Panopticon looks outward at the world around us. Recapturing the cinematic element of the first track, as soon as the immense scream of “PANOPTICOOON” rings out with the devilishly groovy yet gnarly main riff, you are completely hooked. This song has everything you’d hope for in the genre – its bass-heavy but springy production producing astonishingly heavy djent guitars. The electronic whirring that underpins the chorus, the little breaks in chaos in the verses, Garrett’s powerful delivery; all just slot together to create a surefire anthem, that’ll be in the memories of metalheads for years to come. 

Possibly the heaviest moment on the album comes on The Sound Of Sleep, which is almost tech-death at points. The gutturals are beefy and the guitars octave shift madly. Yet the melody and hooks, plus a lovely ethereal clean vocal performance provide the variation that Silent Planet manage to incorporate so well over the course of the album. It is always commendable when an artist manages to stay engaging through the full run-time of an album, and Silent Planet do exactly this. Short interlude (liminal) sounds otherworldly, the distorted alien voice feeling thematic with the band’s namesake. Tracks like Alive, as a Housefire and Anhedonia flex out mathcore roots, with difficult time signature riffs and pitch shifting. Every element is tightly knit together, and the depth of production is an absolute joy. 

Iridescent comes to a very strong finish with its final two tracks. Till We Have Faces brings the familiarity of being firmly rooted in modern metalcore, with anthemic choruses, Architects-esque riffs and orchestral backing. The line leading into the chorus, “There is no antidote for time”, with the final word hitting at the start of the chorus is truly stunning in its delivery. Title track Iridescent feels like the end of a journey with its spacious soundscapes steadily transformed into an air of calamity and anxiety. Whilst somewhat bleak, its intensity and sharp finish leaves the listener eager for the next chapter.

If Silent Planet were simply a rising name before, Iridescent will undoubtedly mark them out as genuine staples in modern metal. They’ve drawn from a wealth of sources around them, utilised a familiar and currently popular style, but absolutely crafted their own unique package of it. Iridescent is of outstanding quality throughout, the vocal performance from Garrett is incredible, and the lyrical content is thought-provoking and moving. More music please Silent Planet, because if the quality is as consistent as this, you’re going to be huge.

Score: 9/10

Summary: Silent Planet are poised to take the metal world by storm. Iridescent is consistently brilliant; with strong vocal performance, accomplished instrumentals, and some memorable surefire anthems. A staple of modern metalcore.

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