Perhaps I’m going out on a limb in calling Lucid Planet’s new album “metal,” but I’ve always had a pretty broad understanding of what metal can include. For instance I’ve long considered much of Rush’s output to be metal. But be not deceived. Lucid Planet’s sophomore album, II, released five years after their debut, is not Dream Theater progressive metal. Rather they remind me of Tool in many ways, especially in the rhythm sections on “Anamnesis,” “Organic Hard Drive,” and “Zenith.”
Maybe “heavy prog” is a better term. The Melbourne, Australia-based band uses the terms “progressive,” “tribal,” and “psychedelic” on their website, and those are all good descriptors for what they do. They travel in and out of various styles and influences seamlessly. No one track limits itself to any particular style. The primal elements are particularly strong on “Entrancement,” which creates a psychedelic atmosphere through droning vocals and simple acoustic instrumentation. The song is a bit unexpected after the first track, but it works well in expanding the horizon of what the band does. Right away we know that this group plans to cover a lot of ground. The female vocals in parts of that track add a pleasant touch to what would otherwise be a rather dark song. The primal elements mesh well with their album artwork as well.
When Lucid Planet gets down, they get heavy. “On The Way” has distinctly heavy instrumental riffing, but not in a noodling way. But then again they show their ability to cross over into different genres on a song like “Offer,” which has some moments that hold a reggae influence yet still features a hard rock guitar line.
The band does a great job incorporating atmospheric elements into their music. The album has a steady flow to it through the atmospheric parts. With most of the songs being on the longer side, they have the space to move in and out of heavy moments into more contemplative musical spaces. At points they even have wall of sound aspects to their production, particularly on the final track, “Zenith.” The guitars on that track feature extended notes which build a spacey sound, all backed up by Tool-esque bass.
Lyrically the album touches on the emotions we feel yet hide while we create facades to keep out the rest of the world. I guess that’s similar to Pink Floyd’s The Wall in some respects. Lucid Planet tackle the concept from a slightly different angle, though. They look at how we as humans change over time, and how we can change to better influence others.
The lyrics to “Digital Ritual” provide a nice critique on how we’ve given so much to the digital realm:
Enticed by designA world behind your eyesSo sink right inTraversing time withNothing but your mindA breakthrough or a lieContrived of what’s not thereThough with this timeKnow that you couldGive us your allThe insight your own
Overall I highly recommend Lucid Planet’s II. They take a fresh approach to whatever corner or prog you want to place them in – be it metal, psychedelic, atmospheric, or just heavy prog. They do it all, and they do it very well.
Their physical CDs are $20 on their website, but their digital downloads are pay what you think is fair. Definitely worth checking these guys out.