26 Jul 2021 - Thorsten
Stoner Doom | Release date: 23 Jul 2021
You like The Sword? Fu Manchu is one of your go-to-bands? Red Fang are not only shooting great, funny videos in your opinion? ASG’s straightforward attitude is quite up your alley? Then listen to the latest full-length by Planet Of The Dead!
Doom-infused Stoner Rock is one of these genres whose aficionados do not care too much for innovation, at least not that much like some other genre-fans. So, it takes only a few simple amends to the already clearly-defined cannon of Stoner Rock to turn it into something highly appreciated – and yes, Planet Of The Dead ticks the necessary boxes.
A little bit of tongue-in-cheek-humor? Well, this New Zealand band is called Planet Of The Dead and uses Sci-Fi covers similar to Warp Riders by The Sword, their new record sporting a cover with a mid-sized space vessel hovering through what looks like the remnants of a (dead?) planet or a meteor shower.
Their music is heavy, no doubt about that – chunky riffs like the one in ”Escape from Smith’s Grove” are very close to Sludge and have just that feisty tinge that defines them as Stoner. Here you can also see a difference to other Stoner Rock bands like Earthless or My Sleeping Karma, Colour Haze or Yawning Man: The basis for Planet Of The Dead-songs are not psychedelic jams – they are closer to Weedeater or Conan for that matter, the harder side of Stoner Rock, not the psychedelic bit.
There is one thing though, that they might work on: The vocals, because it seems as if vocalist Mark Mundell only knows one way to “sing”, or bellow. Of course, nobody needs to have a range like Halford in this genre, but a style beyond barking would do the songs good, and in a few moments he shows that he can do more than that. For example in ”The Cursed Earth” where he tries to harmonize a bit in the middle part but afterwards goes back to his usual style, or on ”The Sprawl” where he starts off with some well-placed hushed vocals. That bigger variability would also serve the lyrics well, for if a band assembles a band around a song influenced by Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse 5 they can and should be taken seriously. The other band members definitely contribute a (slightly) bigger variety of soundscapes to the record for example on ”The Sprawl” which (literally) sprawls across six minutes of highly variable, doomy Stoner. Or on the quite fuzzy and groovy final track ”The Great Wave” which is definitely the closest to mid-90s-Stoner Rock the band comes.
Their sound is like the taste of a fresh bag of chips (crisps for our UK-readers!) - when opened there is that nice, very clean, not too oily taste, sharp and “pronounced” - the same applies to the sound of Planet Of The Dead: Crisp, sharp, straightforward, clearly defined and not too muddy. And let’s be honest, nobody can deny the magnetism of a new bag of potato chips! For the summer weeks Planet Of The Dead are a good choice for your stereo, when the sun is shining on your way to work. On your way home, stop at a gas station and get some good Salt&Vinegar chips for me, okay?