Maximum Rock: Planet RAWK

Planet RAWK

Image courtesy of Planet Rawk

Maximum Rock: Planet RAWK
| published June 1, 2015 |

By R. Alan Clanton Thursday Review editor

The definitions of alternative rock, indie rock and punk can often be elastic and subject to personal interpretation and preference, as well as almost unlimited forms of diversity—which means of course, frequent joy and occasional disappointment. Diehard fans of Green Day or Pennywise will find little to be enthusiastic about when listening to St. Lucia or Grouplove (all four of which we have reviewed here in the pages of Thursday Review, and all of which we highly endorse). But add a touch of hip hop, rap or metal to the mix of alt and indie sounds, and you can get surprises as well—again with the usual caveat that the results could be mixed, surprising, and even mind-blowing.

The Atlanta-based band PlanetRAWK surely produces the latter, pleasing result. The band—which began its voyage of discovery as a hip hop endeavor but gradually morphed into a complex fusion of metal, punk, and rap—generates music which is instantly addictive to anyone who likes freshness and originality in their indie sound. The metallic edginess mixes well with a custom hybrid of hip hop, rap and alt energies, but the all-black band also sparks a gust of fresh uplift which could be described as raising the oxygen level.

Example: while listening to the band’s song “The Storm” on the desktop computer in my office, a colleague heard the music from the hall and came wandering in to eavesdrop. Her comment over my shoulder was telling. Is that a Christian rock band or a spiritual band? she asked. Indeed, the hard rock sound was so inviting that it belies one of the band’s self-descriptions as “crazed,” unless you consider crazed to overlap robustly with infectiously likeable, fun, and raucous (which could be spelled RAWKus, as in this band really rawks, an alt spelling of rock). But a check of the group’s website says that some live shows are limited to a 21 and up crowd—a possible indication that the music may be spiritual in shape and tone, but perhaps not in content. No matter, the electrifying sound still rocks.

“The Storm,” which is one of the band’s flagship tunes, alternates unapologetically between steely rap-metal hooks with rap vocals and a joyful chorus swollen with waves of harmonious energy. The song is a tsunami of power and insistence, and an example of how we couldn’t stop listening once the track had its hooks in us.

The band also produces a lot of sound for three members. This helps to explain why they have a loyal, hardcore following among the live music crowd, especially in the diverse music scene around Atlanta, and why they attract big crowds in Chicago, Buffalo, Nashville and Tampa.

Planet RAWK is launching a tour to promote their new album RAWKzilla, which will debut in August of this year. TR will review that album once it is available.

For more about this group and their upcoming tour, check out their Facebook page:

Related Thursday Review articles:

Grouplove; Spreading Rumours; Review by Maggie Nichols; Thursday Review Music; November 7, 2013.

New Politics; Bad Girl in Harlem; Review by Maggie Nichols; Thursday Review Music; December 1, 2014.

Jack White; The Lazaretto Tour; Review by Martin Boggess; Thursday Review Music; February 8, 2015