Review Summary: If Between the Buried and Me decided to become a deathcore band...
Glass Casket completely caught me off guard. As many fans I assume have, I discovered this band through the North Carolina band Between the Buried and Me. The constant press coverage of the fact that BTBAM's guitarist and drummer were in the group drew me to finally checking them out. Considering the fact also that they were featured alongside BTBAM merchandise in a Hot Topic store, I made the rash assessment that they were in a very similar musical vein as Between the Buried and Me.
Oh how wrong I was.
After picking up Desperate Man's Diary, popping it into my car radio, and driving home, I was greeted with the opening track "Phenomenon." The ambient intro once again reaffirmed my belief that Glass Casket was going to play some variation of progressive metalcore. And then "Too Scared to Live" came on. As the summary suggests, Glass Casket play a much more death metal oriented version of metalcore. It isn't necessarily deathcore, but the archtypical breakdowns and guttural vocals are all there. After "Too Scared to Live" adjusted me to Glass Casket's sound, "Genesis" began with a crushing intro complete with intense drumming and deep vocals. This is really where Glass Casket shows off their death metal side, as the song continues along with breakdowns supplied with a heavy as hell vocal delivery. But near the end of the song, Glass Casket show their progressive/metalcore sides with an unusual take on a guitar solo, that is, rather than play some technical wankage, the group decides to implement this slow and somber section that really distracts the emotion of the listener.
What was amazing while listening to Glass Casket, I noticed, was how the band had the simple ability to provide crushing death metal, setting the listener up into a frenzied mood, then completely blindsiding them with either an ambient or metalcore section of music. Sometimes they don't attempt to blindside the listener at all, but just provide an intense listen, with song such as "Less Like Human" alternating between faster paced sections and far slower breakdowns. Then on songs such as "A Cork Stops the Whining" the group go for a multi faceted sound, with some parts being straight up death metal, variations of metalcore, at some points even hardcore.
What really ended up knocking me off my feet was the album's closer, "Name Above All Names." The song is a complete 180 degree change from the rest of the album, with a lilting piano background while a somewhat ominous voice speaks in the background about appreciating life to the fullest extent. It's really beautiful in how it completely captures the essence of what the album's point is: the desperate struggle of a man as he copes with the varying emotions of anger and frustration before realizing it isn't worth it, and just to embrace life.