Review Summary: Deathcore done right.
Glass Casket is a Deathcore band that includes two members of the progressive death metal band Between the Buried and Me. They formed in 2001 under the name “Gadrel” and released a demo entitled To Cherish a Falsity.
They have since released two albums under the Glass Casket name: We are Gathered Here Today
(2004) and Desperate Man’s Diary
(2006). They are currently slated to release a third album in late 2009, but this date has not been substantiated.
Glass Casket is:
Adam Cody - vocals
Jake Troth - guitar
Dustie Waring - guitar (currently guitar - Between the Buried and Me)
Sid Menon - bass guitar, clean vocals
Blake Richardson - drums (currently drummer - Between the Buried and Me)
Deathcore is a tricky business. On one hand, it strips away the technicality found in Death Metal, leaving more of a sonic assault than music. On the other, it adds elements found in Metalcore and Hardcore, i.e. occasional clean vocals, breakdowns and more varied vocal styles. To me at least, this sounds rather nice on paper. However, most Deathcore bands revert to the same formula as most every Metalcore band has recently. Either a “Well, it worked for Botch…why won’t it work for us?” lack of originality, or an “Everyone else seems to be doing it, and it’s popular.” inbred type mindset. I mean “inbred” in that it’s just slowly diluting an already simplified genre. Amongst this flood of mediocrity, few bands have stepped above the rest. I am happy to say that Glass Casket is one of these few. Utilizing top-notch vocals, technical (to my ear) guitars, and excellent drumming; We are Gathered Here Today
is Deathcore at its finest.
Starting off with Pencil Lead Syringe,
there is no breather, no dramatic build up, just pure aural beating. The message is clear: sit down, shut up, -grab onto something sturdy- and enjoy the ride. The first thing you may notice, is the guitar tone. It can be very “buzzy” and sounds like some mechanical fly from hell. This is actually a good thing. It becomes somewhat of a staple and shtick, and you know from a few seconds that this is a Glass Casket song. There are a few solos implemented throughout, such as in Fisted and Forgotten.
However, they are not used to the extent I would have liked, and are spaced too far apart. That said, the guitarists use many of what one might call “mini-solos” (think August Burns Red), which keeps the riffs and guitar playing in general from getting stale. The drumming is also top-notch, even in a genre where fast is a given. Blake puts on quite a clinic, and –in my opinion- blows away his work in BTBAM, at least in the speed and “br00talitee” aspects. With lightning fast fills and double-bass, coupled with at times schizophrenic drumming, Blake quite easily holds up the rhythm portion.
The bass, well, is pretty inaudible. From what I can hear, it resorts to the “-core” mentality of just sitting there and doing what’s needed. No amazing lines or anything of the sort, which is sad considering the talent displayed by the rest of the band. The bass player’s (Sid Menon) biggest contribution is his use of clean vocals, most notably in In Between the Sheets.
Nothing all that special, but it gives the band more variety and options in song writing. Thankfully however, the cleans never become the main focus (here’s looking at you Killswitch). The lyrics seem to have somewhat of a theme throughout, which would be a funeral (hence: We are Gathered Here Today
) . They are fairly open to interpretation, from vaguely violent to repentant to seemingly open questions to God. I will admit I’m not very good at deciphering lyrics, but these seem to be pretty clear:
A Gray A.M. You Will Never Get To See
To die then would mean to be with my sister, but if I had then I would have
missed out on this dream I've had for so long.
It just goes to show what a girl like Erin with an enormous heart and a
talent to make the world smile could have done if she was still alive.
While on the topic of vocals, one would be remiss in not mentioning the offerings of lead vocalist Adam Cody. Vocals can be a bit of a double-edged sword in Death Metal especially. They are usually not the main focus of the music, in contrast to Pop and Rock, where vocals can make or break a band. At the same time though, terrible vocals will
ruin a band’s sound, which is really all a band has. Cody thankfully does not fall into either category actually. Instead he gets as much exposure as the rest of the band, merging impressive lows that can only be described as “brutal” with highs and everything in between, Cody shows off
his sizeable vocals chops in every track here.
I originally only had downloaded a few tracks from We are Gathered Here Today.
Doing so blinded me to a potential problem for some I am sure: Repetition. A common problem, many bands seem to think since their stale sound works for one song, why not the rest? The catch is as follows; Glass Casket’s sound is not
stale. So the question is, can a (sometimes) repetitive sound ruin an album, even if that sound is executed exceptionally? It is a question that needs to be answered by the individual listening at the time, and I say that in this case it does not. All in all, We are Gathered Here Today
is an excellent Deathcore album. It combines the best of the genres from its namesake. Breakdowns are heavy, yet kept to a minimum. Clean vocals are executed decently and used sparingly, a pitfall many –core bands dive into headlong. Guitars shred at overdrive, displaying speed and skill, without becoming a pissing contest. Drums are superb, switching from blast beats and speedy fills, to intricate double-bass patterns at the drop of a hat. So to make a long story short, this is good. Not a Big Mac when you’re kinda hungry, but a Double Double from In N Out when you are starving. Those that know In N Out can dig that comparison. So all this is to say, We are Gathered Here Today
is a very good album that is most definitely worth having in your collection, especially if you are a fan of Deathcore.
Pencil Lead Syringe
In Between the Sheets
And So It Was Said
Scarlet Paint and Gasoline