Failure
Fantastic Planet


5.0
classic

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (103 Reviews)
May 31st, 2011 | 46 replies | 8,522 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Introducing the world's most tragically spaced out realists.

Space rock is not the medium in which you would expect a story to be told, especially a story such as the one featured in "Fantastic Planet". Failure retell a tale just as hopeless and depressing as it is grounded in gritty realism. The immediate contrast is fitting for the main theme, the process of use, addiction and rejection of heroin. Memories of the drug are portrayed through a filter thats similar, in the drifting, detached way of space rock, to the effects of the drug itself. So with "Fantastic Planet", Failure is not merely describing front-man Ken Andrew's memories, they're allowing you to experience them first hand.

Structurally, "Fantastic Planet" mirrors the chronology of Andrew's drug use. The beginning displays regret, a complicated sequence of chimes (something of a reacurring theme in the album) is introduced before the next two songs introduce us to Andrew's character. He's desperately affected both by the loss of breaking up with his girlfriend and having been left without a purpose in life. "Segue 1" marks his entrance into chaos and despair, it begins with a single chord but quickly splinters into multiple layers that twist around each other, never quite fitting into any comfortable place and then finally rolling into something more controlled. The songs that follow incorporate a large post-grunge influence, with crunching chords and lyrics that are not so much sung, rather shouted, at the microphone. This section ends with "Blank", the moment where Andrews caves in and takes the drug. He casually reminisces:

"I like the blank way
I fill up my life
...
I'm living on the moon."

"Segue 2", and the following songs before Segue 3, admittedly mark a rather weak point in the album. While they document the use of heroin and the relief that it offers well enough, it's devoid of the chaotic emotions that overshadowed, and made, the songs before and it doesn't even approach the raw beauty of the songs it precedes. If we're brutally honest, the section borders on bland at times, though omitting the section would be impossible unless you would want to degrade "Fantastic Planet" from an album into simply a collection of loosely associated songs.

Ultimately this doesn't matter, because Segue 3 and the songs that come after it create the best ending to any album most of us are likely to ever set our ears to. "The Nurse Who Loved Me" begins softly, the chorus of "She's got everything I need. Pharmacy Keys." is barely whispered before the song explodes into a wave of sound. Andrews then bellows that same chorus, throwing all of his emotion at the microphone in an endearing display of a man who has little to live for and desperately clings to all that he has left.

This emotion is not something which can be said to be on at the forefront of the album. It's integral to the tone and to most of "Fantastic Planet's" effect, but for the most part it's only implied. The lyrics do not portray a man absorbed in his own self-pity but instead they shows the fragile inner-workings of the mind of a man who's close to the edge. While we are not instructed to, you can't help but sympathise with the man who's just let everything get out of hand and is almost powerless to prevent the inevitable spiral of losing absolutely everything, including his mind.

"Fantastic Planet" ends with "Daylight", documenting the moment where we emerge tentatively into the real world, confused and lonely, just as we were at the beginning of the album but after growing more solemn throughout its duration. The chimes return, but now they seem beautiful instead of chaotic and the last few minutes of a pounding, instrumental barrage ends one of the most powerful experiences you can ever ask for.



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user ratings (224)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
Deadwing42 (5)
Failure finds perfection....

ezzomania (5)
One of the best albums of the 90's, and a masterpiece of alternative rock....

bostonteabagger (5)
My personal favorite album ever. I love Ken Andrews and mostly every song is great. To Reccomend a f...

Tyler Fisher EMERITUS (4)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
May 31st 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Gah, still can't get over how awesome this album is.

For those who are interested: members of Failure have gone on to be in bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, A Perfect Circle and Autolux.

Feedback, pl0x? (:

MassiveAttack
May 31st 2011



2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes, this is really underrated. There are some fantastic songs on here. I used to jam to this when I was in high school. "Saturday Saviour" + "Sergeant Politeness" + "Pitiful" + "Pillowhead".

Eskate87
May 31st 2011



959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice rev. album is so effin good.

taroo
May 31st 2011



2126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review to an excellent album

eggsvonsatan
May 31st 2011



1087 Comments


Great album. I never realized Failure had such a cult following.

DoubtGin
May 31st 2011



6748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

NIRVANA

Deathcar
May 31st 2011



1534 Comments


This sounds awesome, is it similar to Jupiter era Cave In in terms of 'Space Rock'?

foreverendeared
May 31st 2011



14678 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Love this album. The end.

bailar14
May 31st 2011



1603 Comments


its as epic as that beard senor foreverenbeard

coneren
May 31st 2011



11111 Comments


Hey look 2 of my favourite users

accompliceofmydeath
May 31st 2011



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Deathcar: I'd say it could be compared to that, only not as heavy.

ScorpionStan
June 1st 2011



1807 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just one correction: in the 3rd paragraph, should read "raw beauty of the songs it PRECEEDS" -- not "PROceeds." great review though and awesome album, pos'd for sure.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Interesting fact, I tried to write "preceeds" but Google's spell-check didn't want me to. I'll go in and change it now I'm certain that I'm not making up words.

Masochist
June 1st 2011



7961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is one of those albums that bother me, because it's higher than a 4 but lower than a 4.5. It's so good, though!

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That bothers me, because really it's a 5! O.o

Flyboy
June 1st 2011



395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is awesome. The best Failure album for sure. I would say that Cave In was very much inspired by what was going on here in terms of tone and atmosphere. So I would recommend this to any Cave In fan.

PoodleRapist
June 1st 2011



249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's precedes, not preceeds. also, pos! very insightful review.

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
June 1st 2011



2714 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ah thanks, now Google isn't angry. I swear spell check has destroyed my spelling entirely so when it doesn't pick up a mistake I'm completely lost.



Freddey
September 4th 2013



135 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I don't no what it is about this album. But it just keeps pulling me back again. It's Magical.

mindleviticus
September 4th 2013



8171 Comments


It's looks like a thrash metal album



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