The first song that I ever heard by Silent Planet was “Native Blood”. I remember how it captivated me; the lyrical tapestry that vocalist Garrett Russell wove in between pounding segments of metalcore and passages of atmospheric progressive metal. Noting how Silent Planet has somewhat kickstarted an entire subgenre of metalcore, witnessing this song (which led to finding “Wasteland”, and then the rest of The Night God Slept) was such a pivotal moment in my love and appreciation for metal. Although it is seen as either #1 or #2 in the band’s album rankings by fans, the one gripe that most people had with TNGS is that the production was lacking on it, especially when compared to the band’s successors Everything Was Sound and When the End Began. Before I dive into this review, I want the readers to know that I myself had no particular complaint with this record, despite the lower-quality production on it. I am aware that it is muffled and objectively not a great mix, but I think that the musical compositions that make up TNGS somehow managed to “mesh” with the production given to it. Giving it a tune-up (or complete overhaul, in some cases) ensures that the album will never be lost in time or in listener’s libraries due to listenability, but it loses that uniqueness that made the album what it was in the first place. That is why when I heard this was announced, my immediate thought was that the record label wanted a quick payout, and I wasn’t going to think any different of this release. However, after listening to REDUX, I can completely understand why the band wanted to revamp this vital piece in their discography. This could honestly be an entirely different album from what we were given in 2014, and that is for the absolute better.
REDUX could arguably be considered an entirely new album in the band’s discography, as the entirety of their 2014 debut was re-tracked, remixed, and remastered by Will Putney, who was in charge of those same duties during the creation of their other albums. The track list or general song structure remained the same for the whole of the album, save for some different drum fills and some other minor tweaks, such as vocal takes or riffs being played a bit differently. “The Well” kicks off the album with an absolutely gorgeous soundscape, pummeling listeners before the epic clean chorus kicks in. One glaring notice is that the vocal mix is pushed forward and sounds similar to the band’s previous two albums. This benefits the record greatly; every word that Garrett brings to the song is much more punctuated and hits more viscerally. “City Grave” was given to us before the release of the album as a teaser, but the lead-in from the opening track really meshed to give the record a more cohesive feel. Even though “City Grave” barely flirts with the three-minute mark, interlude “I Drowned in the Desert” is where the album’s reimagining clicked with me. Yeah, the songs sounded better, but the solemn undertones really captured the mood TNGS was trying to convey.
“Native Blood” was the next track, and with this song being my favorite, I had such high expectations for it. The instrumentals were really given their chance to shine (as is the case with the rest of the album), but the vocals threw me off. Everything has been retracked; we were given a different emotion from Garrett than what was originally recorded. The clean vocals from Thomas Freckleton were a highlight on this song, but I prefer the original version to the redux. Fan favorite “Tiny Hands (Au Revoir)” followed the band’s signature song, and I have to say that this is the second-most improved song on the album. (The most improved song is a little later on in the track list.) There is a LOT going on in this song that was not originally audible in the 2014 mix. Technically proficient as always, the band really was able to show just how complex their writing was at the beginning of their careers. “Firstwake” followed as the sixth track on the record, and Freckleton was able to show off his vocal prowess once again. He is an underrated vocalist, in my opinion, and even though he has been given chances to shine on recent releases, he wrote himself some interesting and unique melodies to begin his career in Silent Planet.
“Darkstrand (Hibakusha)” was the seventh track on the record, and outside of the mix difference, nothing from this song really stood out in terms of revelation. This was one of my least favorite songs on the record for whatever reason; it was one of my least favorites on the 2014 release as well. “First Mother (Lilith)” followed, and again, there was nothing really new here. At this point in the record, the clean vocals have become the highlight of the album for me. I can not stress how much more clear the vocals have been added to the mix; it made a world of difference for the record.
“To Thirst for the Sea” was the second interlude of the record, and again, the synth work/electronics that were utilized here added another layer of atmosphere that was not previously on TNGS. “Wasteland” was the other song that we got as a teaser for this release, and I have to say that this song was incredibly improved compared to some others – the mix in 2014 drug this song’s complexity down, and the chorus was given a chance to really open up and expand the atmosphere that the guitarwork provided.
That leaves one last song on the record. “Depths II”, the meme-d to hell song, the middle part of the epic trilogy that was crafted by the band, was the most improved song on the record BY FAR. Russell’s most impressive vocal performance was amplified by a complete re-working of the background instrumentals, and serves as an epic conclusion to this reimagining.
It is interesting how I preferred some songs with the redux mix and I preferred some with the original mix. Maybe it is a sense of familiarity that secured itself in my mindset while listening to REDUX; maybe it is just that I think the original mix, albeit lacking in comparison to the new record, is a unique sound that can not be replicated. Either way, the songs mostly remained the same in composition; The Night God Slept is a frenetic, chaotic, emotionally charged record that is a hallmark in metalcore history, and regardless of what mix we have presented to us, the album is largely enjoyable.
I give The Night God Slept REDUX by Silent Planet a 7.5 out of 10.
If you don’t want to listen to the whole album but still want a feel for the record, check out: “XX (City Grave)”, “Tiny Hands (Au Revoir)”, and “Depths II”.
Silent Planet starts their Trilogy 2020 tour with Currents, Invent Animate, and Greyhaven on February 20th in Seattle, Washington. They conclude the tour on March 22nd in Pomona, California. You can buy tickets at silentplanet.ffm.to/redux.
The Night God Slept REDUX is available on streaming services and local retailers now via Solid State Records.
- “The Well”
- “XX (City Grave)”
- “I Drowned in the Desert”
- “Native Blood”
- “Tiny Hands (Au Revoir)”
- “Darkstrand (Hibakusha)”
- “First Mother (Lilith)”
- “To Thirst for the Sea”
- “Wasteland (Vechnost)”
- “Depths II”