Planning for Burial is the one man band of Thom Wasluck, and Leaving is his towering debut album. He plays all the instruments on this album, as well as of course sing. His sound is slow and mournful, but can be as explosive as anything. It’s a mix of genres, mainly Shoegaze, Folk, Metal, and Post-Rock. This was re-released by Enemies List, and I really need to listen to his more recent albums (now on the record label The Flenser).
Oh Pennsylvania, Your Black Clouds Hang Low is where he cranks up his Metal influences, with some awesomely thunderous guitars. The main riff is just amazing, emotive, and powerful. It leads right into the even louder Humming Quietly, a song packed with fuzzy, noisy guitars and lyrics full of regret. Lyrically this album is very dour and depressing, but he lets the guitar speak for him. Many songs on here are instrumental or nearly instrumental if not for the few bars Wasluck sings.
Season Change So Slowly explodes out the gate with this massive metal sound that’s hard to believe comes from one musician. It’s also got a bizzare text-to-speech sample to end the song, and it somehow fits. Verse/Chorus/Verse is the climax, where the depression peaks. The guitars here are just perfect, atmospheric and moody but they really have their own voice on this song, the mood couldn’t have been achieved without them. It’s a long, slow dirge that is nearly instrumental apart from the funeral-fitting lyrics:
“dress me in my best suit
i want to look good
in my coffin
thank you and goodnight
farewell my friends”
I’m struck with how this album is only 9 tracks, it feels like such a rich and full album. Each of the songs is loud and powerful, and leaves a lasting impression. The eponymous Leaving is the last track, and interestingly it’s more like a Drone/Ambient piece that’s unique in this album. Ending with a silent or Ambient song doesn’t always work, but on this album I feel like it does. We were just blasted with amplified guitars for nearly an hour and this is a nice detox or reflection time. Maybe this is meant to be the calm of death, after the violent resistance to it was the rest of the album. This is an absolute fantastic album and I’m so glad there’s more Planning for Burial for me to listen to.