Gruppe Planet – Travel to Uncertain Grounds

Rating: 0.5/5
Distributor/label: Lifeforce Records
Released: 2020
Buy Album: https://gruppeplanetlfr.bandcamp.com/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/gruppeplanet/

Band line-up:

Alexander Dietz – Instruments
Christoph Härtwig – Instruments
Jarii van Gohl – Instruments
Stephan Hünniger – Instruments

Tracklisting:

1. Travel to Uncertain Grounds
2. Saros
3. A Night on the Roof
4. Fuse
5. Unfold
6. Bullhead
7. Yield
8. Mirai

Review

On the surface, a music journalist’s job seems quite glamorous: free music, festival and gig passes, the chance to meet your favourite bands and artists; but as is the case in all professions, you have to deal with some really bad and disappointing moments, like getting sent a really bad album.

Gruppe Planet, is a supergroup of sorts from Germany. Its line-up consists of members from big German names like Heaven Shall Burn, Decembre Noir, Dyse and A Dog Called Ego – but being from well-known bands does not mean your side projects will be good. Which is the case on the debut album: “Travel to Uncertain Grounds.”

First of all, what is this album meant to do for the audience? From the moment I pressed play, nothing was jumping out at me, no matter how much I dig electronic, ambient and space rock style of music, this album from a band who claim to be different from others, did not have my spine-tingling or curiosity piqued once.

As the tracks progress, the sound becomes a little more progressive and reminded me of the Canterbury Scene and some contemporaries like Long Distance Calling, but the only track that seemed to please my musical palate was “Fuse”, clocking in at only two minutes but was over just as I was beginning to dig the impressive synthesiser and ambience created from the strings. But this was track four and if I wasn’t reviewing this, I would have turned off the album by now, so it felt placed in a really bad spot on the tracklisting.

If that wasn’t enough to rant about, it gets worse, for these blokes state in their press release they are “entirely instrumental” but on “Bullhead” you hear the voice of one band member singing/saying some very distorted lyrics…. now how do you explain that to your fans? Publishing a claim that this is the band for those who love music alone without vocals and then going back on your statement which is meant to reinforce your image of being different – what on earth do you think you are doing?

Normally, I would give a band the benefit of the doubt and say they are still finding their feet, but to come from experienced musicians who state they want to be different to anyone else in their musical circles and then break their own press release’s promise is something I don’t think I’ve ever come across in the decade I’ve been doing this job.

Gruppe Planet might have a following and tons of people may dig this album for what it’s got, but it hasn’t gained my respect at all. I only rate this on the grounds they made an album and not on substance.

Review by Demitri Levantis

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