Ever since their independent EP, Come Wind, Come Weather, Solid State's Silent Planet has welcomed and astounded a consistently growing fan base. It came as no surprise that their full-length debut, The Night God Slept, was one of the most praised metalcore albums of 2014. It was an intelligent and profound look at the unabashed evil humanity all too often inflicts upon itself. This was carried by an atmospheric yet intense musical backdrop that brought to mind the positive influences of artists such as Oh, Sleeper and late Underoath. With a debut as memorable as this behind them, it would be all too tempting to stick with its direction and craft what is essentially a musical sequel, resulting in an unfortunately early fall into redundancy.
Instead of plagiarizing previous accomplishments, however, Everything Was Sound uses its predecessor as a stepping stone towards something truly spectacular. Building on the character-driven concept of their debut, Everything Was Sound delves into the lives of characters suffering from mental illness and the environmental corruption that often brings it forth.
"Inherit the Earth" begins by introducing the fall of man and the cold, heartless setting these characters abide in, "After the fire, after the rain, after the sacred kissed the profane." Thundering guitars usher in a sense of impending doom through the verses, supporting the dreadful truth that "We inherit the earth, we inherit the war / I inhabit the wound, I dwell in the harm." This is followed by "Psychescape," a scarily accurate portrayal of a character diagnosed with schizophrenia. Featuring the vocal talent of Underoath's Spencer Chamberlin, lines such as "No madness in a dream, no walls surround me to keep me safe / The straight line you draw for me: So perfect, so pure," raise a chilling awareness of the mental state of not only the literal sufferer but also those without an objective guide.
This symbolism is what makes Everything Was Sound so impressive, with many being able to relate on various grounds. Tracks such as "Understanding Love as Loss" and "Panic Room" offer hope and empathy to those with suicidal intentions and sufferers of the traumatic experience of violence and war. The latter features such despondent lines as, "Beleaguered by my breathing, choking, screaming, heaving / Time drags me back to the desert / This is war: A child stumbles from the wreckage holding his salvation - the trigger to cessation - to end us all / I took a life that takes mine, every quiet moment we collapse," that point our attention to the weight of pain inflicted on everyone involved in war.
"First Father" and "Inhabit the Wound" bring the album full circle, ending with a convicting and thought-provoking message. The former challenges us to love and fight for one another as Christ loved us, "'You pulled me through time, through the edgeless night' / I learned to love as you learned to die / I'll begin to feel again and finish the chapter you couldn't write," while the latter calls triumphantly, "The earth with a final gasp shook free from our inventions / Grace and nature reconciled I heard, 'It is finished.....' / Nine Lovers stumbled out from their shells of brokenness, they reached inside their wounds to find the seeds borne from their suffering."
Musically, Everything Was Sound improves upon the band's debut in every way. Everything from the production to the song structure has progressed in quality. "Psychescape," "Dying in Circles," "Nervosa" and "Orphan" provide a perfect balance between the melodic cleans and the harsher vocals of frontman Garrett Russell. The songs weave between beautifully complex and crushingly heavy in often unconventional ways. Garrett's screams have also improved and we find him utilize his lows much more than he did on their debut.
In the end, it's difficult to label Everything Was Sound as anything short of a masterpiece. Every lyric is well-thought out and researched (the lyrics contain footnotes to various literary works and Scriptures) and every note drips with intention and purpose. It's an exceptionally crafted album that continues to unravel with each playthrough and its message is sorely needed in today's age. If you're a fan of the band or good metal, do not let what may be the most important album of the year pass by.- Review date: 6/30/16, written by Lucas Munachen of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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