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Planning For Burial / Lonesummer – Split CD

Having reviewed Planning For Burial ‘s debut album (Leaving) earlier this year, and still favouring it now as much as I did then, I took a keen interest in this split release with fellow home recording artist Lonesummer , released on the newly established label Music Ruins Lives .

For PFB’s part, the three tracks are filled with what I now feel comfortable enough to call customary painstaking detail, as was well established on Leaving. They maintain a similar impression of indulgence, in that just about every aspect is carefully considered and measured. From a distance the sound is often hazy and heavy; enough, at least, to garner comparisons to artists such as Nadja and The Angelic Process . Up close and personal, however, there’s a uniquely nuanced world of things that easily distinguish themselves as belonging solely to PFB.

I’m inclined to suggest a little gospel has been introduced into that world this time ’round – of the looming cathedral variety, that is. And, at various points, it’s capable of highlighting elements of calm, grace, solemnity and menace.

‘If I Knew What To Say’, the second track and one of the finest moments, is an almost overwhelming combination of sinister and melancholy, but with Planning For Burial’s curiously effective approach in delivering such themes with a sense of commemoration, we are never taken into outright despair.

Prior to this release, I had not heard any of Lonesummer’s work, and I also have to admit to not being particularly well-versed in the realm of black metal (low-fi, home recorded or otherwise), so to say that I both listened to them without expectation and that they were rather unexpected seems a little bit redundant. But also necessary, because they took me by surprise.

The four tracks from Lonesummer veer from fierce, furious and visceral, verging on the brink of dissonance, to something almost fragile and eerily woeful. The punctuated use of a bicycle bell on the final track, ‘Your Eyes Always Shake Me’, manages to invoke a strange sense of nostalgia that makes the mournfully wailing vocals compelling, where perhaps otherwise they would have simply been wretched.

I once descibed a Lurker Of Chalice track as sounding like a frenzy of crazed bees. Which I mention because there are moments in Lonesummer’s tracks where it sounds like someone caught those bees and trained them to sting on command. If that comes across as a criticism, it’s not meant as one. Think of it as more of an analogy for the occasionally unsettling, merciless method in the madness, which, oddly, feels at the mid-way point of being inflicted on and invited by the listener – that alone is a fascinating acheivement.

Seperately, Planning For Burial and Lonesummer have just as much in common as they don’t. They are, to use a cliché, a little like two sides of the same coin … in different pockets, so it seems natural to bring them together. Where Planning For Burial is gloomy but temperate, Lonesummer is harsh to the point of brutal. Most importantly, though, these guys are telling their stories in a way you probably didn’t know they could be told until something compels you to not just listen, but listen well. If music does indeed ruin lives, then before I can be counted as part of the ruins, I’ll be fossicking them instead for the gems like this.

Listen – Planning For Burial

Listen – Lonesummer

Learn – Music Ruins Lives Blogspot

Planning For Burial – Leaving – Review