Since the inception of CVLT Nation, there are a few people we’ve opened our hearts and home to, and one of those is Ralph from PLANKS – but even before we met this rad dude, PLANKS held a special place in our hearts. This band has continually astounded us with their profound creativity and dedication to their craft, so it’s with a bittersweet sadness that we bring you their third and final album, Perished Bodies, streaming in full below. All of the PLANKS members will no doubt go on to create impactful music, and we’re looking forward to their future projects, but we will miss this one. Ralph has provided us with an in-depth analysis of Perished Bodies, track by track, which you can read below. You can listen to a full stream here and now, and pre-order Perished Bodies from Golden Antenna here.
PLANKS – Perished Bodies Track by Track
by Ralph Planks
This album is the last we started and the last we will ever finish. It also marks the third and final chapter in a person’s journey through a self-invoked apocalypse. This is a short introduction to the main concept behind the record and the lyrics that tell the story alongside the music.
On The Darkest Of Grays, the protagonist went through a total downfall in life, causing the loss of all that defined him. Funeral Mouth portrayed this person in a state of pain-ridden awe, observing and questioning what has happened. Now Perished Bodies sees him at the final point of his journey. Being able to read other people by emphasizing his own defeat onto their process, he realizes that he is slowly fading into the ashes of what he used to be.
If you keep on sinking into such a black hole, you need to come to a point where you accept and adapt. Perished Bodies is this exact point in time where everything needs to change.
THE SACRIFIST, Pt.I (Through Dirge And Death)
All these open wounds filled with questions left unanswered
You never knew me and you never will!
How could I ever tell you?
There is a reason why all things must come to an end,
why souls return to gold.
You never knew me and you never will!
The blood in your mouth was always the truth.
How could I ever tell you?
In love as we’re falling down I kept the skin that you live in.
Pleased and thankful – empty and hollow.
I gave you hope so I could lose mine.
At first, the record was intended to be entitled The Sacrifist. We ended up not using this title for various reasons. Still, this song was the epicentre of everything this record is about. When brought to the feeling of total social alienation from everything and everyone, all contact with other people seems to be a huge sacrifice. Time, energy, heart, feeling – all these natural resources become increasingly rare. You start to approach people extra carefully and build a higher wall around yourself – you observe rather than partake. Your words are constantly filled with lies and mistrust, even if you mean no harm. If you try to open up to somebody, all you reap is misunderstanding. It’s this urge to share but the will not to care which leads to a state of constant caution. The end remains the same: you do everything for everyone but your own self is lost somewhere along the way. All that remains are distant souls and perished bodies.
NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE
You said ‘Love will always win’.
I said ‘Hearts won’t turn from sin’.
Please stay through these nights when sadness derives.
At the end of the knife all I stole was your life.
How could I be close to anyone when I feel so far from what’s my own.
Please stay through these nights where lost souls survive.
At the end of all times all I lost was my life.
My heart is a hearse – immoral to you – immortal to me.
When you stumble across a person who is actually willing to see inside of ‘you’, it often winds down to a state of shock and fear. Most peoples’ bringing up and societal education is built around the beliefs that love is all that matters, an (almost) religious belief in its divine power. After years and years of struggle against one’s self there’s hardly an inch of hope left. Even if you try to stay alone you mostly end up as a part of some society after all. If you meet one of the aforementioned humans there are three possible outcomes: 1) You try to get away from them as soon as possible, because if not you will 2) use them for a few desperate moments of life and/or 3) try to dismantle and destroy this unbearable, hypocritical state.
INTO LIFELESS EMBRACE
With blood it started and with blood it will end,
to hold dominion between emptiness and being alive.
Where fear is the key, where nothing lasts,
you will find me, saved in sorrow.
Decarnate – a hope so broken.
The casket you know, the absence of light,
transcend a fallow graveyard of old times.
When nostalgia turns to negation you fall!
Sometimes you’re only able to see straight when your eyes are filled with tears.
Fear has been a predominant topic in my writing. It’s certainly the feeling that really mobilizes living beings more than love ever will. The worst fear people endure is the fear of being confronted with your own malicious self. This being the constant state when you’re confronted with routine and boredom. When you lose a sense of what really moves you and buy in to a path filled with everyday repetition, you fade to nothingness. When you do the same thing every day, it is as if you do nothing – and if you do nothing, you’re dead. Upon realizing that, you’re but a faint specter of what you used to. A crash is inevitable.
SHE IS ALONE
In my house behind the stairs I lingered low for thirty years
…She is alone
Falling down on wings turned frail the faces change, the fear remains.
A stranger’s heart, the strangest heart.
…I am alone
In endless night where no one stares people change and heartbreak dares.
She lost the key to herself.
I lost the key to myself.
When you frequently move alone, you become an elaborate observer, a witness to the fall of others. You see fragments of yourself in their fate. Your emphasis embraces patterns you saw in yourself before. When confronted with your fear and inner self, a dialogue with yourself starts…and it doesn’t let up. Sometimes you get lost in the maze that is yourself until your eyes can’t shine anymore. When you lose that spark, you remain just a fainted image to the outside world. They’ll see you, and then again, they won’t.
BLISS IN ALL SORROWS FOUND
Shaping truths to what I need it to be.
A soul revering singularity.
I still love this world!
Love is blind, when you need it the most,
the comfort of the man who walks alone.
The words refuse my tongue.
I’ll die alone, never colder.
Love is blind, when you need it the most.
The comfort of the man who walks alone.
I – Still – Love – This – World!
Hopelessly chasing, hopelessly losing.
The world consoles me and I don’t care who I’ll lose.
Upon winding down on the scale of human qualities, you realize more and more how wrong you are. A pile of skulls keeps building around you. You alienate; it’s the only way. Then you understand: the world isn’t such a bad place after all. But it’s not the world of humans, it’s the mere nature, as in fauna and flora. You’re Poe’s “Man in the Crowd,” and move amongst them as a ghost – frightening, not feeling very human. But when you sit alone on a bench in the middle of nowhere – inhaling, exhaling – you will find yourself almost happy, almost free, but definitely calm. This the only place to call ‘home.’
I would feel more sense
if I could sense what I could have.
I ceased to hope because I understood:
The loneliest place in hell is mine.
Life clings to me like a disease –
I don’t fear death but to be the first to walk again.
There is nothing here for me.
There is nothing left to feel.
‘Only Now’ are two words uttered by Herbert West in H.P.Lovecraft’s story of the Re-Animator. A well known story by my favorite author. In a phase where I’ve been stuck again between the pages of Lovecraft’s stories in my tired evenings, I recalled a student of mine asking me what my biggest fear was. I asked him to give me a day to think about it. I thought about how miserable I felt at this very point in time, how lost I was. My first thought was being stuck in a downward spiral like this forever would be my biggest fear. The thought transcended over a few weeks until I found the answer: the fear was not feeling like this, but having to come back to it at some point in time. There’s always a slight bit of hope you will survive “these things,” but the biggest fear is to live with them again. I don’t fear death, I really don’t. Haven’t feared this for a long time, but the thought of going back to this very point creeps me out.
This song existed before we decided to leave the idea of the record being entitled The Sacrifist. All the songs had this undertone of a person leaving everything for others. About giving up on all things that are you, just to please the people around you. It always came to the conclusion that in the end you remain but an empty shell and your body withers too. You function, you do, you fade and then you perish completely. This track is very mechanical in it’s set up and builds up to find an abrupt end. When you lose touch of what is really good for you, you will just slowly but steadily stumble step by step, inch by inch. You function well and set one foot in front of the next, but that’s merely life.
SADNESS IN OUR IGNORANCE
Your face, so covetous, cuts my lungs
to destroy hollow-voiced compassion.
Your words, are the noose around my neck.
I wish you would, what you won’t do.
In my holiest temple with eyes elusively moving
you elevate my heart with glare.
This beckon in banality conveys
you don’t want me, but I need you.
Another topic I often revisited in my lyrics is the concept of desire. I think the turning points of life in general are centered around the strange attractors of fear and desire. It’s what makes us human and beast at the same time. All crimes people force on each other are motivated by one of the two. If you’re in the state of feeling far away from everything and everyone, you occasionally meet a person that breaks through your guards. The people don’t really need to be an active part of your life, but you project all your remaining hopes onto them. It’s destined to fail and to break you even more, adding miles to the distance you feel from your surroundings.
THE SACRIFIST,Pt.II (What does walking away leave us?)
This song was written in the studio from a spontaneous urge of mine and centered around the main chord of “The Sacrifist, Pt.I”. I was listening to Planning For Burial a lot by that time, and “Desideratum” had these overwhelming long and repetitive songs that spoke to me. When we enter the studio, I always know how I want the songs to be arranged on the record and about the concept behind it. This time it felt that I wasn’t completely done. As mentioned before, there was this idea of trying something out, and it evolved in this perfect ending to our last record. When you move forward into the process to perish completely, you start thinking, what is there to alter in your life? To disappear completely isn’t the goal a lot of people share in their life. You ask yourself how you might escape from this spiral. At some point, various ways of “leaving” enter your head. They seem like suitable options for some time, but then again you realize it doesn’t change a thing. This whole process of “leaving” is a long and awful road. In the end, you find yourself at the beginning and it starts all over again. (In this case, the last note on the record is also the first note. If you put the tracks on repeat you will end and start at the same point.)