Every once in a while, wildflowers will sprout en masse in the middle of the California desert. Known as a “SUPERBLOOM,” this phenomenon paints lush colors across a traditionally arid and barren landscape. The emergence and evolution of Silent Planet mirrors this phenomenon. Since 2009, the California quartet—Garrett Russell [vocals, guitar], Mitchell Stark [guitar], Alex Camerena [drums], and Nick Pocock [bass]—have set themselves apart in the realm of heavy music. Amplifying hypnotic hooks across alternately raw and rich soundscapes steeped in hardcore, post-rock, metal, and ambient textures, the award-winning group has generated tens of millions of streams and earned tastemaker praise.
Now, the musicians tell a story as massive as their sound on their aptly titled fifth full-length offering, SUPERBLOOM [Solid State Records].
“A SUPERBLOOM is this strange moment where brilliant fauna spring forth unexpectedly and bring forth such an array of colors, it almost feels alien in origin,” Garrett notes. “It only lasts for a couple of weeks before it’s gone. While we were recording, the SUPERBLOOM was happening. For me, the record is getting in touch with the other side and watching the strange and paranormal emerge from the mundane and profane, hence the title.”
Silent Planet has consistently transfixed a diehard fanbase. The group dropped a string of acclaimed albums, including The Night God Slept , Everything Was Sound , When The End Began , and Iridescent —which Hysteria hailed as “a vulnerable and emotional LP.” Not to mention, album standout “Trilogy” generated 5.3 million Spotify streams to sit alongisde their genre-bending triumph “Panic Room” from the 2016 release, currently at 5 million. The guys notably took home “Best Underground Band” at the 2017 Alternative Press Music Awards and toured with the likes of Motionless In White, August Burns Red, Beartooth, and The Contortionist.
Over the course of two years, they recorded what would become SUPERBLOOM in Woodland Hills, CA alongside longtime producer and frequent collaborator Daniel Braunstein. A jarring turn of events split the process into two seasons. Trekking through a Wyoming snowstorm in November 2022, Silent Planet survived a vehicle accident. The van flipped over, leaving the group laying in the wreckage of a bitter Wyoming snowstorm as Garrett was hospitalized with a fractured back and head wound requiring stitches.
“The majority of us were awake when we felt the van start to slide,” he sighs. “We had some time to come to grips with the fact we were about to go down and have a close brush with death. Afterwards, we talked about what to do with the band. We went back into the record with an increased willingness to take risks. It bolstered our confidence to try new things. When the accident happened, it did something to my head, and it fed into the album.”
Along the way, they settled on a conceptual framework, expanding the scope of their vision like never before.
“I grew up in Northern California,” he continues. “There’s a strip of the state known as Humboldt County, but it’s called the ‘Lost Cove’. It’s a hotbed for strange and paranormal events like UFO and Big Foot sightings. There’s so much we haven’t uncovered. It’s possible our reality as we know it is not complete. We started telling the tale of a 17-year-old who went missing. It’s based on a true story with many
details changed. Art dictates reality, and reality dictates art. Making this record was a very strange and mystical process. It’s the most magical and inspired moment of our career so far.”
Silent Planet initially teased the record with “:Signal:” followed by “Antimatter.” On the latter, spacey electronic transmissions buzz. Pivoting on a dime, it dissolves into a stomping industrial groove offset by synth swells.
“Half of it was written before the accident, and the other was written after,” he recalls. “When my head cracked open, I was seeing all of these colors, and while laying in the ambulance, started making odd connections between the stories I’ve been weaving, and how my brain reacted to the impact trauma. High level ‘Antimatter’ is created in laboratories and made of colliders. The colliders shoot particles at each other, creating antimatter. It’s what happens when people collide, and a third property energy. It’s not either person. Something else emerges in the presence of this dynamic. For me, it was a presence.”
The single “Collider” tempers glitchy electronics with guttural distortion. The vocals toss and turn as a seasick riff seesaws back and forth like a pendulum. He muses, “I wonder if we could fill the gaps between the stars.”
“It’s about what comes out of our lives when the people we trust and hold closest are the ones who can hurt or betray us the worst,” he reveals. “We don’t have to run from the pain or be afraid. The dark gives us the energy to make something beautiful. The song is about alchemizing the darkness and transforming its negative properties.”
“SUPERBLOOM” opens with breathy vocals grafted to an ethereal guitar melody. He asks, “Do you remember the way you were haunted? Couldn’t escape, but we knew there was something more.” It moves in waves. A steady beat underlines a blissfully distorted shoegaze-style hook only to break on glassy keys and an emotionally charged bridge. Everything explodes on the scream, “I’ll rest for now in the SUPERBLOOM.”
“It’s the conclusion of the story we’re telling,” he says. “This is the finale. There are different levels of a close encounter. It’s a close encounter of the fifth kind. It’s the destination of the music.”
In the end, Silent Planet continues to elevate and uplift heavy music to another dimension.
“Our mantra has always been, ‘Trade your certainty for awe’,” he leaves off. “This record is an extension of that. We got a second chance at life—everything seems so tame in comparison to almost dying. We want to take the hope we received from our community and make the most of it. We’re not alone, and we now understand that in more ways than our previous paradigms ever would have allowed for. So we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”