The prophetic metalcore quartet, the 2017 APMA Best Underground Band, Silent Planet, has released their long-awaited third album, When the End Began. The album, before all else, reveals a lucid picture to the foreseeable apocalypse of your world and mine.
There’s more to this album than any other I’ve seen, for it contains the transformative power that may save us from our fates.
Instrumentally, there’s a baffling number of acclaim-worthy facets to When the End Began.
Every track is unspeakably unique. The first instrumental track, “Look Outside: Dream” is 90 seconds of wordless terror. “Afterdusk” has the most insane, omnipresent bass of 2018. “Depths III” features a full orchestral quartet. “Firstborn (Ya’aburnee)” offers the most beautiful, haunting take on death I’ve ever heard, with a jazz break. Every song is an artifact.
Alex Camarena’s percussion is colossal, from its eruptive fills to its delicate ride-outs. Thomas Freckleton’s obsidian-sleek bass makes the heaviest song of the year seem effortlessly organic. If that isn’t enough, Freckleton also galvanizes the clean vocals for the greatest series of choruses an album has given in 2018. Mitchell Stark’s ingenious fretwork is a zen-like equilibrium. Between uproarious chaos and pure melodic power, none of the instrumentals feels out of place. And then there’s Garrett Russell. Gifted with a superhuman pair of lungs, a dynamic mastery of various unclean styles, and a peerless theatricality, Russell performs some of metalcore’s most complex vocals with fury and grace. Together, they filled the crevices between heavy genres to make When the End Began one of the best listens of 2018.
We don’t think of purpose when we gaze into the night, we are simply awestruck by the magnificence before us. Like the beauty of a night sky, the most awe-inspiring facet of When the End Began is what a listener may struggle to decipher. When the End Began is a dazzling constellation of dots that show an incomplete picture- the real treasure exists at its unseen core.
When the End Began goes so much deeper than being a phenomenal listen. One can say “This band really thrashes. They’ve got the lowest lows, their rhythm is insane,” and be totally right in highlighting what makes great metalcore. Silent Planet’s incredible musical qualities are the brushes they use to vividly paint the contents of their minds. That’s what makes them so amazing.
When the End Began sets the archetype for the heights of what metalcore can be.
The sweltering emotion and unbridled chaos of the genre are a perfect mouthpiece for intense thoughts. The themes for When the End Began – Apocalypse, Eternal Returns, and the Modern Crises of the world, are both planet-sized. Silent Planet found the perfect medium to expose these themes in their full and complete horror.
I invented post-progressive melodic narrative-based socio-political spiritual spoken scholasticore.
WHERE’S MY LAMBGOAT ARTICLE
— Garrett Russell (@SilentGarrett) October 17, 2018
In the heart of its art, When the End Began takes upon a sacred role which my favorite philosopher, Sheldon Wolin, describes it as Epic Political Theory. This role, to expend the matter of the soul to wage energetic and creative battle with the bastions of darkness in this world. Russell expended his soul to extreme sickness while writing When the End Began, but the outcomes are incredible.
Every song is deliberately composed to take a problem- an apocalyptic threat, or a poignant narrative, and excavate an answer. Many of When the End Began’s topics are unexplored frontiers to today’s population that pose to destroy us. Such topics needed fresh solutions- Thus, the narratives of every song in When the End Began unleash rapid-fire truths as vibrant as they are complex.
The lyrics and instrumentation of When the End Began unite to explore the indecipherable between spaces of the critical damage being done to our world.
By inverting the themes the audience has accepted, Silent Planet gives the chance for others to see what’s nourishing these threats- the hulking toxicities keeping the world complacent in the fate of its unraveling. At one point, in “Vanity of Sleep”, Russell charges the audience to personally address the insatiable billionaires and owners of the world, as though he were looking at them dead in the eyes. I’ve never seen anything like this couplet in music before.
“It kills me to know that you’ll never find peace,
You can have all the world, but you’ll never be free.”
In the midst of these narratives, Silent Planet constructed lines of unspeakably profound wisdom, just like this one. It unravels the humanity of beings that have spent all the wealth in the world to conceal. Yowzah.
Some information is simply too powerful to just show to another person. When the End Began knows how to deliver it.
The thoughts that alter human consciousness have needed vessels-stories, novels, articles, films, and other mediums have attempted to be the vessels for such wisdom. From the war sirens of “Northern Fires” to the unsettling, possessed buzz of “Vanity of Sleep”, to the celestial tap guitar of “Lower Empire”, Silent Planet has created lush musical environments to cradle the narratives holding this wisdom. When the End Began’s music delivers a message whose vibrancy no modern theorist has achieved, whose depth no modern musician has come close to. The scope of When the End Began is truly the first of its kind.
The Break Up: Incantations
The parasitic toxicities When the End Began have survived for centuries. They’re tough customers. Thankfully, there are short passages of verse that bring devastating power to change the fight. Spoken with the might of Shakespearean couplets, this passage in “The New Eternity” shot through my soul like the lovechild of chemistry and spellcraft.
“Bridge the great divide and see / light and dark collide in me!
Shake the shrouds of secrecy / uproot the grim hegemony!”
It’s not just “The New Eternity”. “Share the Body”, “In Absence”, “Depths”, “Visible Unseen”, “Vanity of Sleep”, “Ya’aburnee”, morsels of this wisdom are EVERYWHERE- Particularly in the choruses of When the End Began. I’ve snubbed choruses for years- top 40s jingles and angry punk megaphones just didn’t do it for me. Silent Planet makes instant classic literature from the stale earworm and leaves me with a newfound appreciation.
“This dazzling constellation of dots is an incomplete picture- the real treasure exists at its unseen core.”
I glimpsed this core, and my insides were revolutionized. I became galvanized with newfound understanding. I found a deep-seated purpose again. I cannot go more than two songs through When the End Began without bursting into tears or vigorous contemplation.
This album is not an easy pill to swallow. I’ve spent weeks studying it, and I’ve yet to scratch the surface. It will challenge a listener, make them cry, make them mourn, and fill their souls with a rare beauty. All I can say to you is that it’s worth it. I realized that one day listening, with a trembling pen and tears falling down my cheeks that I was having my consciousness transformed.
“Hope isn’t lost, you can still fight to break the darkness around you. Become a teacher. Continue the work you’ve started. Uproot the world’s problematic beliefs. Silent Planet has done it, you can still do it too.”
-A note from the author to himself.