Review Summary: Soon I’ll see
As someone who considers themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to heavier music, I find myself more and more intoxicated by the growing number of bands who are cross-pollinating genres to thrilling and intriguing effect. It seems the most exciting experimentation in rock music can be found here as bands race each other to find the newest way to combine brutality with beauty, mixing and matching different genres to create something vital and unexpected. Just this year, there have been a number of releases that have done this for me; Together To The Stars juxtaposition of dismal screamo and ascendant alt-flavored black metal, or Saor’s gargantuantly epic and majestic folk metal concoction. I’m told by more seasoned listeners of the genre that these wild combinations are nothing all that new, but as someone on the margins becoming excitedly more in the fold, it’s hard for me to believe, and I’m now tirelessly searching for The Next Big Thing when it comes to music of this nature.
Enter Glassing. Labeled as post-hardcore/metal and sludge, I hear all these and more. There’s an alchemy of differing musical styles on display, but what really keeps me engaged with Spotted Horse
is its extreme sense of calm. There are long stretches of melodic, post-rock inspired instrumentals that are more ambient and carefully crafted than anything I’ve recently heard in heavy music. More than that, these sections exist on their own, and not as a prelude to a climax or breakdown; it instead sounds like Glassing is repeatedly shifting the parameters of communication, a feeling compounded by the fact that lyrics are practically indistinguishable, an ingredient in the band’s melting pot of sounds and atmosphere and feelings. Opener ‘When You Stare’ clocks in at 7 minutes, and it uses every second of its runtime, running the gamut from martial drums and squalling guitars to a middle section of bulky riffs and furious vocals to a patient outro of delicate cymbal taps and caverns of scraping guitar noise. You’re never quite on stable ground, and the band is able to keep this feeling of peculiarity and disorientation up for most of Spotted Horse
’s runtime. Straight-ahead ragers melt into passages of ‘epic’ droning guitar, gorgeous instrumental movements slowly morph into a wreckage of eviscerating emotion, guttural vocals buried in deep pockets of reverb. The lyrics regularly speak of voids, of seeing and not seeing, and the music follows suit, conjuring chasms of understanding and ghostly beautiful reminisces of serenity and hope. Underneath all of the noise, there’s a dialogue aching to be heard. It’s not quite my language yet, but both the band and I are working to meet one another on the other side, wherever that may be.