Last spring we premiered a pulse-pounding track from a multi-faceted new album named Transactinides by the Massachusetts-based “metaltronica” project Planepacked. We summed it up then as “a head-spinning trip of changing moods and soundscapes”, bringing music which “includes ingredients that should appeal to fans of extreme metal, but adventurously mixes those with both boisterous and mesmerizing electronica and dramatically varying vocal styles”.
Planepacked (named after a glitch in the game Dwarf Fortress) identified a smorgasbord of influences for that album, including the likes of Autechre, Igorrr, Devin Townsend, and Susumu Hirasawa (among others), as well as the urban fantasy fiction series Endian Project created by the woman behind Planepacked, Jessica Kagan.
Planepacked‘s creative fires have continued to burn since then, and one result is a new single that we’re premiering today — a song named “Harrowhark” in which Planepacked has doubled-down on the project’s more extreme influences — providing a death/thrash flavored take on the more usual Planepacked sound.
In addition to delving into death/thrash, Planepacked also wrote the song as a love letter to a favorite science fantasy series. Jessica explains:
“The 3rd Planepacked album might be a ways off, but this single should give you a taste of that album’s more diverse moods and sounds; admittedly from the deepest, darkest, and most bloodstained side of Planepacked. After all, this is a tribute to the Locked Tomb books by Tamsyn Muir, even down to my chosen release date (September 9th).”
Indeed, she further explains, the release date chosen for “Harrowhark” is no coincidence: “On September 13th, the next book in the series (Nona the Ninth) will launch. The release of the new single on September 9th is a homage to the series given how much symbolism the number nine is infused with throughout the novels.”
Not unusually for Planepacked, “Harrowhark” races at rocket speeds . After a weird intro that could function as an otherworldly warning of an impending air strike, the percussion maniacally hammers, the bass tones wildly pulsate, and the electronic riffs slash, boil, and careen with abandon. The song’s intensity gets a red-zone boost from the shattering, unhinged screams of Planepacked‘s harsh vocal partner Moss Girl (whose flame-throwing presence will be familiar to those who heard Transactinides).
But Planepacked also brings in swirling and flickering electronics that seem to convey both fantastical visions and frightening fear and lunacy. The song races — and it will get your own adrenaline racing too (and your head spinning).
“Harrowhark” was mixed and mastered by Nu House Studios, and it includes cover art by Sarah Allen Reed. and photography by Riley West.