Glasir ~ New Dark Age

Dallas post-rock trio Glasir is over the moon that their album has been picked up for a vinyl pressing by Elusive Sound.  And not just any vinyl ~ amazing incandescent vinyl, as shown in the backlit photo to the left.  (There’s an algae green version too.). The colors and technique are striking enough to attract vinyl collectors who don’t even like post-rock, although most post-rock fans will be delighted with the music found in these grooves.  The LP arrives three years after the band’s debut 12″, and shows a remarkable amount of growth.

Each sentiment in our opening paragraph is positive, but as indicated by the album’s title, New Dark Age, the subject matter is dour.  The band writes of the way in which mankind first conquered nature, then began to kill it.  We are living in surreal times, as it was barely a week ago that the U.S. President tweeted that climate change might be more than a theory.  The rest of us ~ suffering flood, famine, disease, and war ~ roll our eyes and grit our teeth.  It’s a global problem, as leaders tend to themselves rather than to the stewardship of their geographic and human charges.  Glasir knows they can only do so much, but they record music in hopes of arming people with energy rather than guns, enough to keep fighting the good fight in the face of overwhelming odds.

Fortunately, the blended post-rock/post-metal genre is an excellent vessel for conveying such energy.  If the opening track sounds like a call to arms as well as a harbinger of doom, it’s likely intentional.  Things get rocking in “Holy Chemistry,” which starts the engines before breaking down into the album’s first lull.  In context, this shift might be heard as a flood of initial emotion, followed by a period of reflection and calm consideration, a technique that would benefit nearly every nation, business and relationship.  Once all of the potential paths have been considered, the band selects one, and takes its first steps out of the valley.  While it will take a while for the band to reach the summit (and they will), it’s more important to get out of the hole than it is to climb another mountain.  Sometimes level, solid ground is good enough.

Most fans will be eyeing that 11:38 track, “Black Seas of Eternity,” from the get-go.  The track virtually pounces on the listener with layers of sludge and doom.  The pulse is quickened, the senses stirred, as the music courses through the speakers like water through a broken dam.  Again the band slows things down, but this time returns to its prior level of energy, giving the listener a sense of empowerment.  The world can weigh us down; but music can build us up.  The fact that Glasir is intentional about such an effect adds to our overall appreciation.  The unexpected violin of the closing piece speaks directly to the heart, acknowledging the new dark age but gracing it with a glimmer of light.  (Richard Allen)

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