A thunderous crack of guitars explode outwards above a deluge of dextrous percussion. It all swirls around the listener before reaching a fever pitch and bursting into its main atonal, bending riff. This is just the mere beginning of ‘When You Stare’ from Blackened post-Hardcore outfit, Glassing, a band clearly out to not just pique interest, but demand attention. The vocals have an ominous amount of reverb to them, giving the same halfway-down-a-corridor feel of the likes of early Emperor or any Black Metal luminaries for that matter. The actual screaming itself, however, has far more in common with contemporaries like Tripsitter and We Never Learned To Live, with its strained and passionate delivery evoking repressed tender emotions rather than scathing the eardrums with rhapsodies of hellfire.
Musically the album exists harmoniously as an expert balance between the Post Hardcore elements and those of Black Metal. The opening flurry of ‘Sleeper’ is a blast beating, hypersonic experience in hostility that gives way into a melodious din that is enrapturing in its simplicity, enhanced by the desperate vocals to the point of heartbreaking sincerity. ‘Lobe’ begins with crushing chords and heavy palm muting before returning to the off-kilter lilt of Post- music while the following track, ‘Coven’ acts as a breathing space in amongst the harrowing emotional onslaught, being a spacious reverberation of chords and strings echoing laterally through the ear canal. It segues into the tender ‘A Good Death’, the most subtle and understated proceedings have been so far. A far more gentle song based around carefully administered pedal wizardry, it eventually grows into a tidal wave of spectral blackness with riffs smashing against an auditory cliff face.
This is an album of careful consideration and clearly has had a great deal of forethought put into it: The ebb and flow of harsh noises and feedback juxtaposed with gentle passages of delayed guitars makes for an endlessly exciting listen. Though the first half of the record is stronger in terms of its dynamism and genre blending, there is plenty of greatness to be found in the likes of ‘Follow Through’ and finale ‘The Wound is Where The Light Enters’, both of them grand in their ambitions and spectacular in their delivery. The combination of Black Metal, post-Hardcore, and Ambient Noise make for a listen perfect for fans of Deafheaven or Oathbreaker, and Spotted Horse (Brutal Panda Records) will be one of the standout releases in its genre this year.