Over time there’s been an increasing number of bands blurring the lines between blackgaze, atmospheric sludge metal and a screamo leaning post-hardcore. For them, those lines have become arguably irrelevant, as the fanbases themselves have begun to merge and their artistic styles all draw from a similar mindset. Bands like Oathbreaker, Infant Island, and Portrayal of Guilt have shown that characteristics from these genres can all work together under the same umbrella to make for a uniquely rewarding listening experience. You can throw post-rock/metal into that sphere as well, as they all excel at perhaps more than anything, euphoric dynamic shifts and emotional catharsis. A newer name cementing themselves in this realm is the Austin, TX based Glassing, and with their third full-length Twin Dream, they’ve shown they’re a force to be reckoned with.
Glassing have had a steady evolution over the past four years since their surprising debut Light and Death that took a lot of people off guard with its ambition and self-assuredness of it’s cavalier sound. That fusion of early post-hardcore with ferociously heavy riffing, sprawling cinematics and raw heart-wrenching vocals has remained their bread and butter and made their second album Spotted Horse a blog favourite back in 2019. But with each album we’ve seen further refinement, a better sense of flow in their writing and newer refreshing ideas sprinkled in.
With Twin Dream, one of those ideas seems to be a growing propensity for dissonance. There’s a discordant, jarring noisiness to some of the riffs such as on the latter half of “True North” that immediately reminds me of Liturgy, a band who has been rarely emulated to this level of success. It’s refreshing hearing that from what could be called a post-hardcore band, in a genre that more often leans into the comfortable. But this is not an album that wants you to get comfortable. It challenges you on every track to question your expectations of what this type of music can sound like.
Going back to the flow, Glassing have hit that nice sweet spot in the run-time of a little over 45-minutes. Nothing here feels unnecessary, and they pretty deliberately take their time when necessary. They’re unafraid to lean into those post-rock influences such as the lengthy “Burden” and more interlude-like “Faint,” and these help build that contrasting tension that strengthen the blow of their heavier hitters. On the other side of the post-rock specific spectrum, “True North” shows their take at euphoric, uplifting optimism. There’s a Russian Circles meets And So I Watch You From Afar infectious energy here highlighted by some impressively vibrant, upbeat drumming.
The curveballs come frequently, but never feel out of place or unnecessary. Take “Absolute Virtue” which turns up the mathcore influence with some chaotic, finger-flying riffage that dances about the apocalyptic atmosphere curated by the rest of the band. It’s the sort of carefully crafted genre-salad of blackened, technicality and -core and post- prefixes and suffixes that the likes of Rolo Tomassi have met high acclaim for in recent years. Then there’s the dreamgazing title-track which feels a bit Holy Fawn-esque with its eerie haze and soft haunting vocals, before the gradual post-metal build up explodes into their heaviest moment of the album. Post-metal has always felt like a genre that could make better use of breakdowns and they make a clinic of it here. Not to mention some absolutely brutal low gutturals? God damn. The versatility, the dynamic storytelling, the at-the-edge-of-your-limits raw emotion and giving everything their bodies have to offer delivery, Twin Dream represents all of the best that these genres have to offer.
Grab the album and merch on Bandcamp and stream it above, out now on Brutal Panda Records.