REVIEW - Planet Fatale - 'The Cycle Repeats' (Album)
For a couple of years from 2018, pre-pandemic, Cambridge band Powderhead were playing intense, high-energy shows and had released a hard-hitting, enjoyable rock and metal album 'Don't Let Them Win'. Fast forward eighteen months and the band has undergone a name change to the more 'esoteric' Planet Fatale and have released a debut album under the new moniker, 'The Cycle Repeats' which shows the strides the band have made during lockdown and out the other side. A well-written, fantastically played and sung set of ten tracks that hits harder, stings more venomously and 'goes in for the kill' quicker and with more conviction than its predecessor, 'The Cycle Repeats' is a loud, exciting and heavy - very heavy - album and one which bears repeated listens.
While some bands of Planet Fatale's ilk may sneak an acoustic track on to their releases to show off their 'sensitivity' or have a 'lighter' song specially written to 'tickle the charts', there's no such compromise on 'The Cycle Repeats' and apart from the odd 'gentle' guitar intro, this album roars from start to finish. The album has a great sonic depth thanks in part to the production work of Russ Russell (whose previous clients have included Napalm Death and Raging Speedhorn) and the album has enough varied moments and great playing not to need the above 'digressions'. The thunderous rhythm section of James Miller (Bass) and Ollie Wallace (Drums) sets-up a rock solid base on each song - although they're also able to slip into a Southern stoner rock groove a la Down and Clutch (check out '86' and single 'Break For You') - to allow the blazing guitars of Simon Murden and Chris Delay to fly over the top with their furious riffing, sharp, keening solos and best of all, the dual guitar work in the manner of Murray and Smith on the fantastic (and most commercial track on the album) opener 'Talking To Myself' or Gorham and Robertson on 'Working Girl'. And above it all is the powerful and soaring vocals of Hels Johnson who matches the intensity and drama of the music with vocal displays of passion and (where required) fury - never more so than on the driving 'Fight Club' and 'Smash My Face'.
'The Cycle Repeats' is a tremendous, vibrant, hell, even 'dangerous' album that is a testament to the hard work that this hardest of working bands have spent over the two years putting this album together. Touching on stoner rock grooves, thrash metal rhythms, classic rock riffs, even a little symphonic metal vibe our European cousins are fond of (at the beginning of 'Violation'), 'The Cycle Repeats' shows a band expanding their palette and growing ever more confident with each release. This album should see Planet Fatale gain a firm foothold in the UK's metal scene and take them to a higher level; 'The Cycle Repeats' tour hits a number of UK venues in October & November - go and see their raging live show and buy this accomplished and dynamic album.
'The Cycle Repeats' is released tomorrow (Friday 17th September) and will be available on all the major digital sites. Check out the band's website at www.planetfatale.com/shop to pick up splatter and black vinyl, Digipack CD and cassette versions of the album.