Silent Planet are a rare metalcore band who actually sound inspired, have something genuine to say, and who treat their music, lyrics and art in general with the utmost respect and care. That was true of 2014’s solid debut LP, ‘The Night God Slept‘; it showed immensely across every song on 2016’s exceptional sophomore effort, ‘Everything Was Sound‘; and it’s once again accurate with the American group’s newest single, ‘Northern Fires (Guernica)‘.
Musically, ‘Northern Fires (Guernica)‘ does what Silent Planet do best. It merges bouncy metal sections, massive choruses, and wicked mosh parts with grand melodic space, layered atmosphere, Alex Camarena’s powerful drumming, and Mitchell Stark’s riff-heavy guitar work. It’s familiar but a damned good piece nonetheless; one that’s had some extra spit and polish applied to the production, gifting the band’s sonics with some added punch and depth.
Thematically, much like ‘Orphan‘, this hard-hitting track is a battle-cry against the slow death of democracy, and how war (and the scapegoats of war) are often incorrectly framed to us by those in power for ulterior motives. Yet what’s always made Silent Planet stand out from the crowded flock is frontman Garrett Russell’s brilliant lyricism and his passionate, palpable vocal delivery. Nothing’s changed here as the well-spoken vocalist roars over crisp and busy instrumentals with poignant conviction. For just like the burning fires of war, throughout ‘Northern Fires (Guernica)‘ Garrett rages about conflicts; the deception and charade of politics; the harrowing experiences of soldiers dying hopelessly in vain on foreign shores; and a never-ending war machine that’s perpetuated across generations.
Well-written lyrics like, “The narrative never fits the crime/democracy’s died this death a thousand times” give this solid new track real weight. So too does his fast vocal flow during the second verse with the part: “I’ve been digging through timelines, historical bylines/I find the fatal flaw in our design lies/between thoughts we had and words we knew; between what we’re told and what is true“. Both examples prove exactly why Garrett is one of the most intelligent lyricists in metalcore (and heavy music) right now; his words being a “trump card” of sorts for Silent Planet’s already highly potent music.
While “Northern Fires” may not mean much to most people, the key to this song’s anti-war message is found in the parenthesis: “(Guernica)”.
See, Guernica is actually the name a famous Pablo Picasso mural oil painting from 1937. It was commissioned by the Spanish Republic at the time after a Basque Country village in northern Spain of the same name was struck by a major bombing raid from both Nazi Germany and Fascist Italian forces.
Created in response to the bombing of Guernica in which hundreds of civilians lost their lives, that Picasso artwork – perhaps one of his most political creations overall – raised worldwide attention to the horrors that were occurring in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). And that core message about the horror and tragedy of war is so well-embedded into the lyrical framework of Silent Planet’s latest tune.
‘Northern Fires (Guernica)‘ isn’t just a song that implores us to remember our compassion and humanity, as bassist/clean singer Thomas Freckleton’s soaring clean vocals in the choruses dictate. It’s also further proof that Silent Planet are one of the most forward-thinking bands in metalcore today. Listen and learn:
Silent Planet will be (FINALLY) touring Australia this August with Make Them Suffer, Thornhill and Oceans Ate Alaska. All dates & ticket info for that upcoming run can be found here.
Expect Silent Planet’s new album to drop sometime this year. It cannot come soon enough!