Glass Delirium is one of the most unique bands I’ve heard in a long time. Debuting with Thanks to a Monster’s Many Heads, they’ve executed their classically tinged progressive hard rock with near perfection.
Immediately noticeable in the intro track “Seeing Double”, among other things, is the dual lead vocals. The thing about this track that from the word go, it’s compelling, even for a short intro track such as this. The chemistry between the vocalists is apparent, creating something absolutely haunting with the electronic backing and chilling piano. It leads right into “Beside Myself”, which starts out as something like a lullaby. Don’t be fooled though, after ten seconds, the listener is hit with a quick heavy riff that might surprise someone who didn’t know what they were in for. I’d like to point out that despite the dark, mostly heavy nature of the song, even the clean guitar work fits perfectly. The female vocals are dominant in this track, but even still, the offset male vocals continue to work well.
It’s hard to say what you might expect on an album like this, seeing as each track brings something new. The track that is the band’s namesake, or possibly vice versa, is incredibly compelling, moving away from that general progressive feel for a few moments, instead opting for something that might be called hard rock cabaret in style. The piano and verse vocal melodies create something very retro, even bluesy in places, in style, all while keeping a very modern rock sound in the chorus and the other instrumentation. I do feel like the addition of the brass seemed extraneous, but it’s surprises like this track in its entirety that will keep someone continually interested.
“The Color Nine” returns back to the band’s previous formula, only this time it’s the male vocals that are dominant. It might just be me, but in my opinion, the lead guitar work in this track bears some small similarities to David Gilmour in terms of sound. If I’m being honest, however, I feel like the vocal chemistry in this track is a little less apparent, because in places, they don’t seem as well suited together. The exception is the interlude, in which they are again offset, but have a distinctly powerful call and response style which works well for them.
The most metal-oriented track on this album is pretty obviously “Transfixation”. It starts with a blatantly heavy riff, into an upfront screaming part, courtesy of the male vocalist. It also features the rare blast beat that perfectly accents the track. It’s a track that takes some of the most interesting turns, from the growling vocals that bear some resemblance to Mikael Akerfeldt’s growls, to a second verse that takes a style similar to Serj Tankian and Daron Malakian’s dual vocal duties of later System of a Down. It’s admittedly chaotic, but perfectly so.
This album is intense. It’s very impressive for a debut album and to think they’re unsigned is bewildering to me. I will say, however that this release is not without some flaws. The female vocals are, in all honesty, miles better than the male counterpart. They’re not bad by any means at all, the singing ranges from excellent (see “The Color Nine”) to only slightly above average (see “Quintessence”), but the screaming seems like it could use some work, at least for this style of music. That being said, the growling is on point. I think one thing this band needs to look out for is the balance between the two. They’re talented, yes, but there is the occasional tendency for the male vocals to be lost in some of the instrumentation. The only instrumental flaw I can find is that tracks with unique instruments, like, again, “The Color Nine” which features a violin solo, is lost, slightly, in the rest of the mix. But on a whole, the album is solid. I love what I’m hearing.
January 18, 2010