‘Iridescent’ album review
artist: Silent Planet
release date: November 12, 2021
star rating: five out of five
review by Levi Yager
Every once in a while, a record comes along that knocks you flat on your back. Iridescent is one of those records. Tapping into deep currents of unfiltered emotion, it’s an extremely moving experience that also does what any good metal album does – gets your blood up.
We start off with the ominous intro “1-1-2” and its repeated, booming synthesizers. You get the feeling that something heavy this way comes. And it does, indeed. “Translate the Night” erupts into a frenzied madhouse of existence that only really lets up for the dialed-back bridge, and then it all goes up in flames in the final breakdown.
One thing you’ll quickly learn while listening to Iridescent is that Silent Planet rarely take their foot off the gas; it’s just so intense throughout the runtime. Of course, there are a few scattered moments of respite, but it’s mostly a raging tornado of screams, chugs, riffs and the like. I fucking love it.
A couple other early highlights are “Trilogy” and “Panopticon.” The latter might honestly be my favorite song on the album. Its textured percussion and atmospheric synths at the beginning lend to a menacing ambience that’s cut into by rapid-fire riffs, rhythm-led verses and, later, an absolutely punishing chorus. I literally get chills. About the current and coming digital age, “Panopticon” looks through a negative lens at the potential of technology. The ending is just iconic: “Unto us a program is born; Holy Virus, Taker of the Earth.”
One of the songs from the back half of the tracklist that I really like is “Anhedonia.” Preceded by the unnerving interlude “(liminal);,” “Anhedonia” starts with redlined drums, staccato synths and panicked screams. Some guitar chugging then adds in before the song dives right into full-force verses, complete with wicked riffage. Additionally, “Anhedonia” has a massive chorus section of low guitars, pounding percussion and screams combined with cleans. It’s quite possibly the best chorus on the album.
The title track is our closer. “Iridescent” begins with a spoken word segment, backed by a sparse soundscape of drums and miscellaneous effects. It proceeds to grow into an unrelenting stream of passionate screams, loud guitars and energized drumming. Thematically, “Iridescent” is centered around the death of a loved one. It’s likely written about frontman Garrett Russell’s dog Birdie, specifically, since the album itself is dedicated to her. While sad, this song provides a brilliant conclusion to Iridescent.
Silent Planet have really outdone themselves; this is undoubtedly some of the best metal music around at the moment. Everything here feels intentional and inspired. On top of that, the different sounds at play are simply awesome to hear: the monstrous guitar tones, the focused use of electronics, the melodic hooks in the clean vocals. It all mixes together beautifully and comes off very polished. Whether you’re already familiar with the band or have never heard of them till now, you should definitely make Iridescent a priority listen.