Tuesday 22 October 2019

Glassing - Spotted Horse

Labels: Brutal Panda Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 17 May 19


1. When You Stare
2. Sleeper
3 Lobe
4. Coven
5. A Good Death
6 Bronze
7. Follow Through
8. Fatigue
9. Way Out
10. The Wound Is Where The Light Enters

The drain is real! This week isn't fun mentally but I guess I should take the rough with the smooth and enjoy those moments where I can be content. After all, things could be a lot worse and we all need some perspective. That's something that is often found when your deep in musical thought and so I'm hoping that Austin, Texas (USA) metal band Glassing can help. Their second full-length "Spotted Horse" was release back in May via Brutal Panda Records both digitally and on vinyl. They're playing alongside High On Fire, Power Trip and more at Levitation 2019 in Austin on November 7th, so if you happen to be there, go and see them.

This is another one of those albums that has flown under the radar a bit this year. Cinematic soundscapes greet you on opener When You Stare, as riffs and percussion create music that’s as much a haven for post-rock as it is for black metal and ambient noise. I feel like trying to describe their sound in genre terms isn’t fair really and the mid-point of the song demonstrates why, as Glassing’s creativity grows alongside their ability to temper extreme volumes and instrumentation into glorious layers and textures.

From the lengthy opener comes Sleeper, which starts with intense blasting before slowing right back down and presenting a stripped-back sound filled with gorgeous treble-laden guitar work, drums that echo like they’re in the room with you and passionately screamed vocals that are nestled within it all. The impact felt even at this early stage in proceedings is mighty.

Off-kilter metal and post-hardcore are both present on Lobe, with Glassing once again showing that they’re not content with rehashing the same musical shapes on every song. Coven’s ambience transports you to a hazy summer’s morning (the sort where you spare a moment to rub your eyes and take in the world around you, instead of rushing to where you have to be). It stirs up genuine emotion that carries on into A Good Death.

A Good Death takes things a step further as it builds from that hazy summer’s morning feel, into something more alive and serious, with the aid of occasional heaviness punctuating the heavenly clean singing. Dissonance is never far away and when Glassing re-ignites their heavier side, the feeling isn’t ruined. While the longer songs are very compelling to listen to, it’s not often that you can say that a band can pull off those and shorter, more urgent numbers but both seem to suit Glassing, as Bronze shows. Possessing song-writing skill like this is rare these days and is more awe inspiring as a result.

By the time Follow Through comes round, it seems effortless musically and appreciating what is being played becomes easier. There’s no settling for simple song-structures or formulaic phrasing. You’ll be kept guessing as your ears are pulled from passage to passage. Fatigue goes by without you realising it was a separate song, once again making use of calming guitar work and chilled-out percussion.

Penultimate song Way Out hits the spot with almost a nod of punk flowing through it. It’s over all too quickly but that’s fine because The Wound Is Where The Light Enters makes up for that. The profound effect that music has on you sometimes isn’t felt instantly and it’s hard to stay stoney faced at this point. Despite my attempts at superlatives above, there’s no more emotive point on “Spotted Horse” than it’s final act. This album is amazing. Nothing more needs to be said.

You can stream and purchase "Spotted Horse" via Glassing's bandcamp page below:-

Vinyl copies are available above and also via Brutal Panda Records here - https://www.brutalpandarecords.com/

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