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Columbus’ own: Matter of Planets’ comic-book metal

Local instrumental progressive-metal band, Matter of Planets, is set to release their second album in April 2018, continuing the sci-fi narrative started in their debut album, “The Ballad of Baberaham.” Credit: Courtesy of Matter of Planets

During the week, the four men who make up Matter of Planets, a local progressive-metal band, look like pretty regular guys. Aside from a few piercings and gaping holes left behind from ear gauges, they work day jobs, have families and live normal lives.

But once Friday rolls around, the men of Matter of Planets transform into a touring metal band, making music and playing shows not just in Columbus, but also up and down the East Coast and Midwest.

“It’s been a fun adventure,” drummer Joel Chastain said. “There’s nobody I’d rather get in a van and drive with for 15 hours to Boston … and play a balls-to-the-wall, half-hour set with songs that never end [and] just melt together for 35 minutes … it’s really special.”

Although the group released its first album just last year, the band has been kicking around Columbus for many years, going through a series of fluctuations in the group’s members and sound, until finally landing on its current lineup, under which Matter of Planets released its debut, “The Ballad of Baberaham.”

“The music started to change, it started to become more sophisticated [and] we started to step away from very formulaic songwriting,” Chastain said. “We started playing with different formats and really investigating the music that we were interested in … and it really started to grow.”

“The Ballad of Baberaham” follows a narrative featuring a protagonist, named Baberaham, through an instrumental album with songs that all blend together into one piece of music. It makes the album sound less like a collection of songs and more like a story.

Chastain said Matter of Planets’ 2018 album will build off Baberaham’s musical narrative on their first EP, and push the boundaries of the instrumental music featured on its debut.

“We wrote this one to be instrumental on purpose so it was a little bit better than the first one I think,” guitarist Joe Rosenblum said.

Chastain said that in addition to learning from the experience of recording their first EP, the amount of different instruments available for anyone to pick up while recording at Columbus’ Oranjudio recording studio really helped broaden the sonic scope of their latest album.

“Our EP was us really just learning how to become an instrumental band,” Chastain said. “This [upcoming] record, its us full-tilt and … really pushing the boundaries of what we think we can do what we want to do and try to accomplish as much as possible, and it’s been a very gratifying experience.”

After the release of the new album in the spring, Matter of Planets plans to tour in-state and eventually write and release a comic book for listeners to read and follow along as they listen to the music.

“The whole [album] follows [Baberaham’s] adventures and when we’re writing songs, we’re like … what happens next in the story, and we match riffs up to song ideas to story [ideas],” Chastain said. “Eventually there will hopefully be a comic book to accompany the music that you can look at and listen to, so you can look at it and be like ‘oh, so that’s what they’re talking about!”

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