Review: Planet Of The 8s & Duneeater ‘Turned To Stone Chapter V’

Is it my advancing age or did this next instalment of Ripple Music’s Turned To Stone series come around much quicker than the last one? Whatever the cause, it can only be a good thing as who doesn’t love a split LP, eh? I’ve waxed lyrical about the format too many times already, so suffice to say I think it’s a great way to discover new bands and enjoy two EPs for the price of one. Well, the price of one LP I suppose.

Planet Of The 8s & Duneeater 'Turned To Stone Chapter V'

Anyway, after Chapter IV took us to Spain, Ripple Music is continuing to chart new territory by serving up two bands from Australia for Chapter V. Now, I was particularly excited to hear this as, while I can hardly claim to know a great deal about the music scene Down Under, I do know that Australia has provided me with several of my favourite records over the last few years.

My promo copy always plays the Planet Of The 8s side first, so that seems as good a place to start as any. I follow a few antipodean bands on social media, so I surmise that the blurb’s claim that Planet Of The 8s are ‘one of Australia’s foremost desert stoner rock outfits’ is probably pretty accurate – they’re definitely a band I’ve heard mentioned many times, even if I’ve never knowingly heard them before. I’d also take at face value that they started off as very much influenced by Kyuss/QOTSA but are now pushing their musical boundaries.

The first thing that struck me about the Planet Of The 8s side is the production – while there’s plenty of fuzz on offer, the sound is really full and smooth with an absolute ton of low end. Nice. Overall, it reminds me of some of the more recent bands that are grounded in stoner rock but moving more into modern alt-rock territory. I kept thinking of Deville but have been too busy/lazy to dig out the relevant CDs to check whether that’s a relevant comparison, so let’s just roll with it and hope nobody asks questions.

Planet Of The 8s give you two lengthy songs. First up is Raised By Night, a quality number where the chugging stoner guitarwork is juxtaposed by haunting melodic vocals. This track really showcases the lush production and I defy anyone not to enjoy the near subsonic but very present bass. A really good track, with enough progressions and sweet riffage to keep anyone happy. Next up is Gravity, which is something of a slow-burner that builds from choppy guitars to a big emotional climax. It’s a really nicely constructed and excellently played tune, but I often find myself thinking that being a minute or two shorter wouldn’t have hurt.

a really solid split with two bands bringing the rawk in contrasting but awesome ways…

That brings me neatly to the point of my review where I get to be needlessly picky, and I have two minor gripes about the Planet Of The 8s side. Firstly, the opening interlude Dawn Part 2 is so good I always feel pretty bummed when it stops after 70 seconds. Considering there’s also a short closing instrumental (Dusk Part 1) it would have been awesome if the band could have found the space to expand on it a little more. My second thought is that while there’s absolutely loads to like about Planet Of The 8s, for me they just lack that special something (a certain edge or personality or je ne sais quoi) to really jump out from the pack

Performing the imaginary record flip, we come to Duneeater (pronounced Dune Eater in case you wondered), a five piece who mention Kyuss and Fu Manchu as reference points. The Duneeater side is markedly rawer sounding than Planet Of The 8s, and the band plough a furrow of old-school redneck stoner rock that wouldn’t sound out of place on a compilation from the late 90s. Think of the many bands who added a dash of punky rock ’n’ roll sleaze to the template laid down by Scott Hill et al and you’ll not be far off.

There’s the odd reference to spaceships and many more frequent references to motoring, so listening to this blind, I would be expecting an album cover that features a decent quota of muscle cars, cowboy hats and desert scenery. Possibly a big American flag too. Given that everyone, apart from Chas & Dave, sounds American when they sing, I reckon that Duneeater have therefore succeeded in their stated aim of adding a dash of Aussie hoon to their sound.

First track proper Twin Voyager is my favourite on the whole record. It’s been done a squillion times before, but when Duneeater kick into that stoner rock shuffle groove there’s just something irresistible about it. Not content with that, the progression towards the end is spot on and really makes this an awesome tune. The rest of the Duneeater side provides you with plenty of high energy riffs and catchy choruses, and I particularly enjoyed the closer Devil Dodgers. It might just be the title, but the whole attitude of the song really made me think of AC/DC, which can only be a good thing.

Overall, this is a really solid split with two bands bringing the rawk in contrasting but awesome ways. Definitely recommended.

Label: Ripple Music
Planet Of The 8s: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Duneeater: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Liam Blanc