Planning For Burial creates a somber amalgam of post-rock, noise, shoegaze, doom and black metal on their newest album, Below The House. A warning for anyone reading: this is not easy listening by any means. This is Gloom.
Thom Wasluck plays every instrument and there are many on this album: squeaky guitar, bass, drums, drum machines, yes, but also synths and even bells and mallet percussion. Most of the time, Wasluck mixes these colors together in thick, blended coats creating a wall of sound effect. For more intimate moments, a single instrument like a piano or his own muted voice will pop out of the texture for a brief moment. Even with the maximalist textures, Wasluck keeps things subtle by always shifting and morphing into the next section. He never uses the same idea twice. This post-rock crawl approach sets Planning For Burial apart from most metal and rock acts and lulls the listener into deep contemplation.
Through the slowly shifting textures, this music creeps and slowly builds under the listeners active consciousness. Before it’s possible to catch, the depression sets in. That’s not an exaggeration. Wasluck so masterfully depicts his own emotional inner play that the listener becomes unwillingly immersed in it too. This is, after all, gloom. Unlike rage or triumph, gloom doesn’t have a clear genesis. Things go by normal enough until it’s finally unveiled and then it’s too late. This music parallels depression perfectly. It will find its way to your core and leave you wondering how it got there. This album isn’t all down though. They are short moments of happiness and anger to give the listener a break.
This album usually relies on instruments to convey its feelings, adding more to its mystery but there are some vocals on this album. Some of the only fully intelligible lyrics on the album come from “Dull Knife Pt. II” : “Call me back home”. These words become a mantra as they are repeated over and over and more voices join. Just like the rest of the album, there meaning finally sinks in at the climax of the song and makes for one of the best moments on the album over all. It demonstrates the mastery Wasluck holds when he can use such simple means to produce such complex results. Holding back the spotlight on his voice for this huge moment is incredibly effective and leaves it burned in the listener’s memory forever.
Planning For Burial has another worthy full-length in its discography. You can get in on their Bandcamp page today.