Planet Rain – The Fundamental Principles (Mighty Music)

Tuesday, 13th May 2014
Rating: 7/10

Melodic Swedish death metal, which means it can go one of two ways: Back to Gothenburg times of yore, or, over to the modern In Flames/Soilwork arena. For Planet Rain (whose name sounds like a spa treatment center with a built-in gym), the answer is both, having borrowed equally from both sides. On The Fundamental Principles (the band’s sophomore album), Planet Rain find themselves in the difficult rut of not being able to do much of anything on a noticeable level. Rather, this an album of competence and some zip, but not much else.

The symphonic swaths that are scattered about the place are probably the first item of note. Keyboard undertones ride along the guitars, neither of which providing much in terms of fertile melo-death happenings. The blistering pace of opener “On Darkling Plains” is a good start, though, with a maelstrom of sounds each being rounded up for what is easily the album’s most explosive number. The back-and-forth between cinematic death metal and textured metal makes headway on “Solstrom,” and makes “The Dereliction Part II: The Bonds of Oblivion” the album’s highlight. Yet, the unmemorable nature of “Fluxus,” “The World We Devour” and “Shock Wave” predicate the notion Planet Rain has some ways to go before striking paydirt in the melodic death metal realm.

A tip of the cap should be given to the band for at least having the guts to make something vaguely unique on The Fundamental Principles. But as is the generally the case, too many ideas isn’t always a good thing. Should Planet Rain truncate their songs and ditch the unnecessary symphonic touches, they’ll be in tip-top shape.

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