The successor to Planks 2010 release, the warmly received The Darkest of Grays, is the destitute sounds of Funeral Mouth – a record which bridges the blackened gap between sludge and hardcore and maybe a little crust with frantic shouts and depth of purpose. The German trio have been treading the fine lines of genre cross-over for many a moon and this group have consistently produced interesting and consuming work ever since their inception in 2007. It seems so long ago that The Darkest of Grays found its way into a scene overburdened with bands that were constantly pushing for a heavier sound whilst bringing nothing to the table. Planks sidestepped this by combining slow and doomed progressions with their harshly rasped vocal techniques and moments of grim and stark reality.
Funeral Mouth is a record is deserving of your time. Multiple listens will allow the subtle nuances of driving sound to get under your skin – the words that Ralph Schmidt bellows in his grating tone flow over driving drum licks and massive waves of rhythmic bass – and Planks snatch moments from the darker side of this life with both hands. “An Exorcism of Sorts” comes laden in dust and shadows from the outer reaches of the landscape of solitude and the depression felt so palpably during these beginning stages of the record continue to creep with a heightened fervour as Planks move through this work with ambition and a need to expel their demons and understand their failings as human beings. It’s deeply personal and when Schmidt conjures deadly images of woe in such a resolutely defeated manner during “Agnosia Archetype” the weight of the entire world can be audibly heard through his suffering.
If wildly disturbing thoughts, the odd reference to the depths of the ocean and the occasional moment of absolute hopelessness are your cup of tea (and, let's be honest, why wouldn't it be?), then Planks have got that in spades. The use of a sweetly clean vocal line on "Scythe Imposter" lulls you into a sense of forlorn serenity before the lonely sounds of "The Spectre (Black Knives to White Witches)" brings the truth of the destructive nature of life crashing back into the forefront of the mind. You won’t be disappointed.
8.0 / 10
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