Crushing sludge, intricate melodies and ethereal atmospheres come together in post-metal harmony on Lesser Glow‘s debut LP, Ruined.
Hailing from Boston and comprised of former members of Irepress, The Proselyte and Black Elm, Lesser Glow are yet another new band to push the boundaries of what is considered “post-metal”. Drawing influence from genre figure heads, while also incorporating elements from 90s underground and post-hardcore, Lesser Glow carve out an interesting niche for themselves within the sludge/doom/post-whatever scenes. Their new record, Ruined, illustrates this by balancing between infectious melodies and crushing weight, subtle complexity and straightforward heaviness.
While the record is surprisingly short, clocking in at around 26 minutes in length, Lesser Glow pack in as much as they possibly can within this time frame. The record opens with the massive title track; a six-minute display of colossal chords, impeccable groove, thunderous bass lines, and raw, yet instantly memorable melodies. It’s brooding, abrasive, but not mindlessly so. The song flows flawlessly from one intense riff to the next and each one burrows into the listener’s brain and refuses to leave. Frontman Alec Rodriguez aids tremendously in making the song, and the entire album, highly addictive with his commanding array of caustic screams, oddly melodic yells, and soaring cleans.
“Ruined” is then followed by the cataclysmic sludge fest that is “Vacant Throne”. With the exception of its dense, hypnotic bridge, “Vacant Throne” relentlessly batters the listener with its menagerie of off-kilter, thunderous riffs. The guitars craft angular assaults rife with odd rhythms, dissonance and piercing harmonics, which transition seamlessly back-and-forth between more straightforward, city-leveling chords. A similar approach is found in the album’s fourth track, “Empty Eyes”, which also dials back the melody and atmospherics in favor of unbridled doom and gloom. Much like “Vacant Throne”, “Empty Eyes” is comprised of a multitude of angular, jagged riffs and marching sludge, albeit with more emphasis on groove this time around.
The album’s third track, “Tel Meggido”, sticks out like a sore thumb in the best way possible. In contrast to the rest of the album’s abrasiveness, “Tel Meggido” revolves around cycling, dreamlike guitar melodies and a lurching rhythm section. Rodriguez’ ethereal vocals seem to float above everything and seem to give the apocalyptic track a moody, alternative feel. These entrancing atmospheres carry over into the penultimate instrumental “Fall on Mortal Decay”, which in turn bleeds into the album’s final track “Under the Polar Shade”. On this six-minute closing number, aspects from each of the previous five tracks can be found woven flawlessly together. From the discordant riffs to the towering sludge, to the spectral atmospheres to the catchy vocal melodies, “Under the Polar Shade” has it all and is one of the album’s pivotal moments.
Lesser Glow‘s Ruined explores avenues within the sludge and post-metal styles that have previously been untouched, resulting in a unique addition to the genres. If this record is any indication of where Lesser Glow will go in the future, then all eyes should be on them right now.
Release Date: June 8, 2018
Label: Pelagic Records
Favorite Tracks: “Ruined”, “Tel Meggido”, and “Under the Polar Shade”
For Fans Of: Cave In, Gifts from Enola and The Ocean