Glass Casket - We Are Gathered Here Today
Abacus Recordings
9 songs (38'13")
Release year: 2003
Abacus Recordings
Reviewed by Alex

It is really hard to hide the fact that not many of the reviewers are metalcore fans. Basically, there are none. This is why the acts from this genre stay largely non-reviewed here. Such was the case with Glass Casket’s We Are Gathered Here Today on Abacus Recordings, Century Media sub-label.

Personally, I am definitely not a metalcore fan, not even close, but giving an album a shot, why not. What I am looking for is not to get so wowed I will be converted. Let’s face it, something like that is not going to happen. What I am looking for is to listen to an album and say to myself: “Hmm, I might want to listen to it again someday”. As hard as Glass Casket tried I remain a non-believer and you will not see me at the metalcore show near you.

Glass Casket is a young band formed only a couple of years ago in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We Are Gathered Here Today is their first full-length on Abacus, the label that specializes exclusively around acts that blur the edge between hardcore and metal. It seems that North Carolina is churning out bands of this style and Abacus is there to pick them up.

Eight songs on We Are Gathered Here Today (the ninth cut Cellar Door being a short noise instrumental) all fit the definition of metalcore. Chugging brutality, slamming blastbeats, screaming vocals, you know, the usual. Adam Cody mostly screams his lungs out, but periodically lets a deathly growl go. Guitars by Ian Tuten and Dustie Waring are grinding and come around in loops. As is the case with metalcore, most of the attention is focused on the downtuned riffs, but here and there the band throws an opening lead (Fearfully and Wonderfully Made) or borders on grindcore (Fisted and Forgotten). A slip of the classic line in between crunchy riffs (A Gray AM You Will Never Get to See) does not distinguish the band. And therein lays the problem. So how is Glass Casket different from a legion of others?

Yes, the band tries to go with odd meters (Scarlet Paint and Gasoline), switches around rhythms (the opener Pencil Lead Syringe) which requires a good dose of technicality. However, chug-chug-chug-drum roll scheme throughout leaves me unimpressed. No question, the record is brutal and menacing. It exudes toughness, but what’s aggression without the substance? Strangely enough, Glass Casket best moments come in when the band goes less aggressive, puts away a tough guy image and throws in some brooding and introspective melodies on Chew Your Fingers and In Between the Sheets. Melodies on the latter make an excellent contrast with punchy and cool ending death march riffs. To sum it up then, my favorite moments on a largely metalcore album were melodic introspections, death metal riffs and grind sections. What does it say about the metalcore itself?

Glass Casket is blessed with clean and crunchy production which magnifies the wanted brutality. Everything is tuned just right, but the snare brings some memories of some St. Anger record.

To answer the opening question – will I play We Are Gathered Here Today again? The answer is – very doubtful. Where would I do it? Maybe, in the car driving to work being late and getting a ticket. This music is good enough to blow some frustration to, but not much else. To defend my openmindedness I will cite recent Anima Nera and Watch Them Die (which I will play again) reviews. Too bad Glass Casket just doesn’t measure up.

Killing Songs :
Chew Your Fingers and In Between Sheets are better than others
Alex quoted 45 / 100
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