Orange County metal juggernauts, Silent Planet, have quickly risen in the ranks with the release of their long-anticipated lastsleep (1944-1946) EP. The five-song EP takes the listener on a journey through the horrific events of World War II through multiple perspectives. Ambient instrumental tracks intertwined with hard-hitting metal tracks take the listener through an emotional roller-coaster of anger, fear, and devastation associated with the senselessness of such a tragic war.
The EP kicks off with “Tiny Hands (Au Revoir),” paying homage to Madame Rouffanche, a survivor of the Nazi destruction of the Oradour-sur-Glane church on June 10, 1944. Told from the perspective of a woman who has lost her home and family, this track not only provides a vivid depiction of a first-hand experience with tragedy, but comments on the nature of evil, the human condition, and the existential crises faced by the survivors of immense atrocities.
The second track, “From Tides,” is reminiscent of wandering through the darkness and experiencing the desolation that remains after such widespread destruction. “From Tides” serves as the perfect intro to “Darkstrand (Hibakusha),” a tale of a young child caught in the middle of the American bombings on Hiroshima. Throughout the track, the young girl pleads for a reunion with her mother, whose shadow she sees etched into her surroundings during her moments of fear and suffering. The haunting refrain “will you wait for me?” relays the immense desperation for deliverance, most assuredly experienced by all involved in the ruin of war.
The penultimate song, “To Caves,” is a beautiful, ambient, outro from “Darkstrand (Hibakusha)”, as it ends with the sounds of water droplets falling, reflective of new life and of finding solace. The fifth and final song, “Wasteland (Vechnost),” encapsulates the destruction and futility of warfare. Written from the perspective of the Soviet Union, this track pointedly calls attention to the fact that although technically “victors,” the USSR suffered more casualties than any other country involved in WWII. The warped mentality of Stalin and his Soviet constituents is called into question with the final refrain, “They saw the end of God: Wasteland. The flag will fall with the walls we built: Wasteland.” Reflective of the emptiness of victory without substance, these words leave the listener questioning his or her own views on morality and bloodshed.
As a thematic release, lastsleep (1944-1946) exceeds all expectations by allowing listeners to immerse themselves in various sides of these atrocities. But as a work of art, the EP shines at the forefront of the genre. Silent Planet provides thought-provoking lyrics and complex, technical instrumentals that gracefully mesh to compose a musical tapestry of human suffering. Reminiscent of T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland, the lyrics are riddled with references to Nietzsche, Plato, Kafka, Sartre, and many other philosophical pioneers. Although primarily a conceptual work, this EP incorporates philosophical and literary ideals in order to provide a frame of reference through which the listener can question personal views on good and evil, purpose, salvation, and the human condition. The perfectly composed lastsleep (1944-1946) serves as a catalyst for mental and emotional awakening, and will undoubtedly propel Silent Planet to the forefront of the music community.