Artist: Of Glaciers
Album: Heart Museum
Whether it’s a cliché or not, most modern musicians are, directly or indirectly, influenced by the world around them. Be it in the chirping and buzz of nature, a favorite album or artist (contemporary or defunct), popular (or unpopular) movie, or any other person, place or thing, inspiration surrounds us. This is especially true with Illinois-based melodic hardcore band, Of Glaciers, and their debut full-length release, Heart Museum. Packed with beautiful, immense melodies, stunning, climactic dynamics and jaw-dropping, hard-hitting breakdowns, Heart Museum is the soundscape of the rolling hills, flat plains and violent temperature swings of the Midwest. More importantly, Heart Museum is the soundscape to the world that surrounds us.
Heart Museum opens with “Telepathy,” which is built like a stunning cathedral of sound. The entry into the track is a subtle one; as if sturdy, oak doors greet the listener with the known, alluring in their familiarity. However, upon opening the doors, the listener is attacked–or inspired–by rays of instrumental beauty, shining through a glorious stained glass window of glorious song structure. Where some rays of light are long, vivacious and pure–see the first portion of “Enlightenment – Ego Death” or “Stillborn,” some tracks are jagged and hard-hitting; especially those found in the latter parts of both tracks in the enlightenment series, or the lead single, “Fear of Symmetry.” These instrumental patterns ebb and flow, contrasting serene, cleanly picked fretwork against rough-and-tumble, downtuned chugging. Pitting punctual, fill-laden percussion against splashy, bouncy cymbal work and grooves. All the while, the firmament of bass guitar rumbles beneath, keeping the listener anchored, firmly and knowingly in the album. Once the listener steps inside of Heart Museum, Of Glaciers create such an immersive experience that even if the listener wanted to leave, they could not.
Past the initial, awe-inspiring view at the inside of Heart Museum’s entryway, the doors shut with a firm thud. Of Glaciers truly begin to work their magic. Throughout “Telepathy” and “Losing Sight,” the band familiarizes themselves not only with the listener, but with their own dynamic–one of constant motion and emotion. Action and reaction. Once “Fear of Symmetry” begins, however, it’s clear the band have reached the steadiest, most reliable candor. This candor is one that waltzes the listener down the central aisle of Heart Museum’s aural cathedral. While the stone floor is smoothly set, it is uneven. The pews are hand-made, but worn. There is a level of beauty to be found in this track which can best be described as something that might not be beautiful now, but once was. A dignified, experienced sound. Of Glaciers achieve this by balancing hard-hitting breakdowns perfectly against tapped-out leads and combining gritty, harsh shouts and screams with clear, serene singing. The result? Ethereal, as once “Fear of Symmetry” kicks in, Heart Museum’s remaining tracks are nothing short of perfect–which is no poor reflection on the initial tracks either. Upon first listen, they might seem contrived, but once repeated, they reach the same level of perfection as the rest of the album. This makes it clear that is isn’t the album which needed fine tuning, but rather, the listener’s ear.
It is the “Enlightenment” tracks which highlight the beauty that is Heart Museum’s dynamic most perfectly. These tracks are where the album gets it’s name: they truly show Of Glaciers not just playing, singing and screaming their hearts out, but rather, putting their hearts on display. The guitars are crystal clear, the drums effervescent and luminous, and the lyrics and vocals work together in perfect tandem as one, truly relating to the listener. These elements make the album one which truly shines amongst the efforts of the band’s peers. While some bands feel the need to resort to the hypermelodic or the obscenely aggressive end of the “hardcore” spectrum to find a home, Of Glaciers rejects these tenants. Rather, they craft their own cathedral, and crown it with a glistening, golden stained glass window of unending dynamism. The eerie truth is this, however: the window which is the source of so much awe for the listener–ceaseless fascination and wonder–is indeed a mirror. Heart Museum forces the listener to look deep within themselves in ways which other albums do not, causing them to revile in true inner beauty.
If you believe your search for fulfillment thus far in life has left you…wanting, then give Heart Museum a chance to ensnare your ears, and your heart. Of Glaciers have crafted nothing but the most heart-felt, awe inspiring music which will reach out and caress your ears and tantalize your soul, whetting your appetite to become the person you were always meant to become.
For Fans Of: Liferuiner, Have Heart, The Ghost Inside, Explosions in the Sky
By: Connor Welsh