Glass Cloud 'The Royal Thousand'

July 2, 2012 - Basick Records / Equal Vision Records
8
8

Since I first heard of Glass Cloud back in November last year, I knew this was a band to look out for, if only for the presence among their ranks of 8-stringed evil genius Joshua Travis of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza. Everyone familiar with his guitarwork knows his innate ability to constantly surprise listeners with driving intrincacies and low-end dark grooves. Co-founder of the band is also former vocalist of Sky Eats Earplane Jerry Roush, a metalcore band that is quite at the antipodes compared to Joshua's main act. However, this apparently unusual combo manages to deliver a breath of fresh air on the table of a scene suffering from stagnation.

'The Royal Thousand' is comprised of 10 tracks, for a total running time of nearly 40 minutes. The band successfully manage to deliver a well-written, dynamic balance between melody and heaviness, a crushing sound with a strong sense of melody. Joshua brings his trademark groove and well-known technicality, but compared to his main act, his performance is far more controlled here, leaving room for the vocals. Despite that, he still manages to give the whole album his own stamp, and I would lie if I denied that without him, this album most probably wouldn't be so compelling and exciting.

Roush delivers a solid performance on vocals, alternating between captivating cleans and ferocious screams, usually used as an accent to the former. This formula differentiates him from the majority of metalcore vocalists, and fits perfectly on top of Joshua's soundscape. His cleans are really distinct and characteristic, sometimes reminiscent of vocalists like Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw, for example in the song 'Falling In Style', which sounds like a well-done mix between the vocal abilities of Glassjaw's singer and the catchiness and techiness of Corelia.

What are the best tracks on the album? 'All Along' is my personal favourite, being one of the songs that best combines the two sides of the band's style, with the overly melodic chorus sections on top of the memorable and heartbreaking riffage provided by Joshua. In my opinion this is also the song where Roush expresses his different and emotional vocal skills. 'Memorandum' is probably the most diverse track on the album, with its cadenced progression along with the ambient-vibe and ethereal moments. It's also in this song that the good performance of drummer Chad Hasty and bassist Travis Sykes can be appreciated, because honestly they don't shine so much throughout the whole album, leaving themselves quite in the background.

So, for a first album, it's surely more than a solid effort. Its heavy parts keep the listener on the lookout for each song, while its melodic bits quickly stick in the listener's head after a couple of listens. Think about it as a post-hardcore version of Danza.

Comments

It's funny how the overall mix on this album is almost the same as Danza III. Not enough low end on the kick and/or bass. Too much high end. When ever I listen to this in my car, I have to EQ everything to get that sound I wanna hear. Don't get me wrong, this is a great album & I love it. It just seems like anything Josh get's involved in, it gets mixed/mastered in the same type of way. I'm not even pro when it comes to production, but I hope they can take this constructive criticism into consideration on the next album. One thing I forgot to mention tho, is the bass drops are REAL solid. When those drops hit, the subs are slammin!

"post-hardcore version of danza" i couldn't think of anything worse ...
Fortunately the guitars were sick enough to make me ignore the vocals on this one.

I found this album to be exactly what they said it would be, game changing. There were songs for just about everyone and at times it was hard for me to exactly categorize the genre the CD was in (a very good thing!), but my one complaint was towards how they went about Joshua's TTDTE guitar work he is known for. It just wasn't in there enough. I could have said this was the best thing on earth if it just was a shred harder.

My favorites are actually the heavier songs on the record, namely If He Dies, He Dies and Ivy & Wine.