17 - 21
Artist: Glass Cloud
Title: The Royal Thousand
Label: Equal Vision Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
Released: July 2012
by Paul Spencer - April 3, 2016
If you’re a metal fan like myself who tends to shy away from post-hardcore or metalcore, you need to let go of any prejudices of either musical style and give this album a listen. To label The Royal Thousand as a straight-up metalcore album does a disservice to its vibrant, unique, and above all, aggressive sound.
Fronted by Jerry Roush, ex-frontman for Of Mice and Men, Glass Cloud manages to blend the angsty aesthetics of metalcore and infuse it with the rhythmic variations and low, 9-stringed guitar tones of djent. I feel the need to provide a disclaimer, however: this is not a djent album. Of course, Joshua Travis’ disgustingly low and aggressive guitar work, along with Chad Hasty’s technical drumming, might lead one to label this album as djent, but to do so would be to mistakenly pigeonhole it into a genre that, in my opinion, has become to stagnated for such an electrifying album to fit into.
The Royal Thousand takes the listener on an emotional and introspective journey with songs that deal with topics like the apparent futility of existence (Memorandum), narcissism (White Flag), and even the Hercules myth (Ivy & Wine). Of course, no metalcore-inspired song would be complete without a straight up sex song like Falling in Style.
Coming back to the auditory aesthetics of the album, Glass Cloud’s instrumentation somehow manages to combine low tones that make the chords almost indiscernible with melodic lines that convey a fleeting sense of beauty, only for the listener to be thrown back into the aural fracas a few measures later. This contrast is held together by Roush’s alternating raw/clean vocal style; for me, one selling point of this album is that Roush has a clean vocal style that doesn’t sound like a whiny teenager (I’m looking at you, Issues).
Overall, The Royal Thousand has lasted these past four years as Glass Cloud’s strongest album. Their recent work as been fairly disappointing in my opinion, but I can always return to this album whenever I need an adrenaline boost (as an aside, this album makes for great lifting music). Overall, I’d give The Royal Thousand a solid 7.5/10.