Glass Casket – ‘GLASS CASKET’

By Ian Kenworthy

Think back seventeen years and imagine what the world was like. Music was very different. Deathcore was very different. Glass Casket last released a record back in 2006 and after so many years of inactivity, you’d think they were dead and buried, but really they’ve been waiting for the right time to be exhumed. And that time is now.

For the uninitiated, Glass Casket describe themselves as a ‘progressive tech-death’ band and you can’t help but agree. Their sound is obviously rooted in deathcore, but it feels mean-spirited to pigeonhole it in a genre known for its relentlessness as, by drawing from a much broader palette, their songs feel individual and surprisingly fresh. Of course, they’re heavy, dark and intense, but despite having only four discrete songs, the EP is remarkably varied. For example the slow, thoughtful groove of ‘Merrymaker’ makes a great contrast with the snappy ‘Prison Of Empathy’ but there’s a surprising breadth and depth here, meaning they’re doing more than reanimating a corpse, and this self-titled EP is an ideal rebirth.

Since 2006, guitarist Dustie Waring and drummer Blake Richardson have been pursuing their progressive metal impulses with Between The Buried & Me so it’s no surprise that the songs here are doing more than trying to relentlessly smash you into submission. Instead, they use riffs and intertwined structures to wrap around you like tentacles and slowly pull you down into their dark world. That’s not to say there aren’t some seriously heavy breakdowns, especially on ‘Prison Of Empathy’, but they’re constantly finding more interesting ways to ensnare the listener, which is quite a feat.

While bands like Lorna Shore are in the spotlight for pushing deathcore in different directions, this is a less obvious deconstruction that plays with the genre’s established form. ‘For The Living’ makes this abundantly clear as it flexes and contorts over six minutes, and despite cleaving itself in two with a wicked guitar solo, it never feels lost or incoherent. Likewise the frantic dance of riffwork under ‘Let Them Go’ shows off a host of interlocking ideas that gradually change the song’s shape without losing its remarkably cohesive feel. It’s also notable how Richardson’s drums influence the sound in interesting ways, especially the groove sections underneath ‘Prison Of Empathy’ but he gives each song its own feel and character.

Returning vocalist Adam Cody has a sharp, raspy voice which is pleasingly distinct and more than a match for the interlaced riffs and rhythms around him. He’s most impressive when shifting between a deep guttural roar and higher screams on ‘Let Them Go’ which also shows how a brighter, more insightful approach to lyrics can influence the EP’s overall tone.

Ironically, rather than preserve and display who they were, Glass Casket have kept up with the march of time and it’s far easier to admire who they are now. With broad, thoughtful songs they’re no shambling zombie, this is an impressive comeback and a timely progression.


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