Planks - Biography




Planks is a three-piece outfit from Mannheim, Germany. Formed in the early months of 2007 their aim was to play heavy, mid-tempo centered music in direction of Mastodon, Baroness, Breach, Old Man Gloom, Isis and likes. After Frank and Ralph's old band broke up and both were tired of playing Fastcore, they found a third man in Benny. He played in another band from the area called Gunmob. A mutual friend brought them together to talk ideas and shortly after a first rehearsal was set.

After some time a demo of four songs was recorded in the basemant of the Juz Mannheim. Narshardaa Records from Kiel liked this and agreed to take care of a first record. Around that time, Ralph's good friend Mike Hill (ex-Andoyne) had a new band as well - Tombs. The idea to do a split record was born very fast. A full-length record as well as three song for this very split were recorded again at the Juz Mannheim. Narshardaa Records released the self-titled debut and some months later Black Box released the split, followed by a Tombs/Planks UK tour. Prügelprinz Records from Germany released a European version of this split half a year later. Until this time, all songs, art and ideas were centered around a nautic concept. Metaphors for emotional settings in a deep sea setting.

By that time Planks already played around 100 shows and several bigger DIY festivals. After the UK tour the band started writing new songs. Due to emotional struggles the whole atmosphere grew darker, the mood more negative and the music more diverse. Where the first record could be grouped along the genres Sludge/Doom/Metal/Hardcore the new songs took a different direction. The founding stones of a three-piece/noise rock dynamic mixed with Breach atmosphere blended in with dark wave/post punk dynamics and black metal dynamics. Planks never intended to become a Black Metal band but took parts from that genre and used it as a means to an end. The result was the acclaimed The Darkest Of Grays full-length. It was released by legendary German label Per Koro in October of 2010. The record was concept record in two parts - a manifest to darkness, depression and the total downfall of everything considered "human" in a person.

In August of 2010, Planks did a first US tour with their friends in Tombs.

In the same session as The Darkest Of Grays four additional song had been recorded that were supposed to be part of a split with Leipzig's Black Freighter. Unfortunately they broke up before the project came to life. The four songs ended up on a one-sided 12" called Solicit To Fall, which was released by Insitut Für Mentale Hygiene in Febuary of 2011.

Mid-2011 the band recieved an email by Greg Anderson of Southern Lord and Sunn O))) fame, asking allowance to re-release the last two outputs via Southern Lord on CD. Band and label agreed and the CD-version was released in late summer of 2011.

After more festivals, tours and shows, Planks entered the Lunarcity Studios (Darmstadt/Germany) again. Here they had recorded both The Darkest Of Grays and Solicit To Fall. In October of 2011 the band started to record yet again with their friend and producer Lari Eiden. 14 songs were recorded and released as a Split 12" with Lentic Waters released by Apocaplexy Records, React With Protest and IFB (US) and the full-length Funeral Mouth released by GOLDEN ANTENNA in October of 2012.

The record found overall positive feedback and played tons of shows. In late 2012 founding member Frank left the band due to family reasons. A good friend of the band named Marcel joined in. He also plays drums in Slump and bass in the now defunct band GunMob (where Benny also played bass).

After recording a cover song of a soon to be released split with O from Aachen/Maastricht (to be released on Alerta Antifascista) the band started working on album number 5.