Artist: The Gloom in the Corner
For a couple months now, I’ve been playing around with how I would best want to describe The Gloom in the Corner. Sure—they’re a metalcore band—but what kind of modifiers would I use to really hammer home how unique their sound is? After all, there aren’t many bands that combine a proclivity for…well, flashy panache with robust and intricate storytelling are there? And of those precious few, I doubt any have the same personality and fanfare that The Gloom in the Corner have.
Ultimately, I decided on operatic metalcore.
While some have jokingly (I hope) used the term cinemacore or something similar—and the even more lazy have just described them as a “heavier Ice Nine Kills”—I felt like operatic really captured what the listener is in for the second they hit “play” on their long-awaited full length record, Trinity. Instrumental intricacy smashes head-on into clever lyricism and a hyperdynamic vocal performance to give what is one of 2022’s most rewarding and rip-roaring metalcore releases without a doubt. What’s more? Where the record is absolute heaps of fun, its also smart and carefully written, establishing characters, motive and a moving plot all while sparing no attention to absolutely eviscerating the listener.
One thing I won’t be doing during this review is discussing the lore that The Gloom in the Corner have established. This is primarily because the band have written an expansive and free-to-access PDF that explains it all quite thoroughly and, to a lesser degree, because I’m sure I’ll absolutely botch a lot of it. What I will be doing is explaining how riveting nearly every facet of this release is in arguably painstaking detail. Above all else, The Gloom in the Corner are juggernauts of vocal prowess, lyrical ingenuity and, well, telling a damn good story—and Trinity is an outstanding example of this. From the very beginning of “From Heaven to Hell,” the band’s frontman Mikey Arthur showcases an impressive range that only builds as the record progresses. “Red Clouds” and the album’s sprawling, epic closing track “Hail to the King” are further proof of this, as Arthur sings and screams his way through piercing screeches, soaring melodies, punishing bellows and a grisly, meaty mid-range yell. As if you needed more, Trinity’s impressive character profile demands a hefty number of guest appearances—and you get them in spaces. From Left to Suffer’s Taylor Barber to Fit for an Autopsy’s Joe Badolato and Red Handed Denial’s Lauren Babic, even if you manage to tire of Sawyer’s voice, there’s no way one could claim The Gloom in the Corner are monotonous with a vocal entourage like this in tow. On another, deeper level, the number and quality of vocal appearances helps add even more depth and dimension to the band’s story—it gives characters more uniqueness and helps those lynchpin moments in the album’s story seem bigger and even more crucial. While I can understand the criticism that maybe The Gloom in the Corner are a little too dramatic, it’s also hard to get too mad when their flair for the dramatic draws in this kind of talent—in addition to an already immense performance by their native vocalist.
The Gloom in the Corner’s massive lyrical and vocal skill notwithstanding, the band’s instrumentation is also incredible—and often understated. Throughout Trinity, we’re brought massive riffs that are overflowing with atmospheric undertones (“Red Clouds,” alongside “New Order” shine) as readily as we’re delivered devastating breakdowns and scathing, blistering percussion (lead single “Ronin,” as well as “Gatekeeper” and, again, “New Order” excel). The band’s ability to combine technical precision with skin-rending speed and the ability to oscillate into moments of both atmosphere and…was that folk at the beginning of “Hail to the King”? Anyways—their ability to combine those elements is nothing short of immaculate. Admittedly, there are some times where maybe the music and vocals don’t mix as perfectly as they could—“Obliteration Imminent,” despite having a perfect closing portion is a little guilty of this at times, as is “Black Rot” and “Gravity” in scarce moments as well. With that in mind, those moments are rare, and The Gloom in the Corner sidestep them very neatly, such that by the time the next climactic chorus or crushing breakdown hits, the listener is back in the thick of the dense and enrapturing story Trinity creates. This speaks to what is The Gloom in the Corner’s strongest suit, even in spite of top notch vocal and musical abilities—the ability to tell a really damn good story.
If you follow The Gloom in the Corner on Twitter, you’ve probably heard them joke about how Trinity is their least aggressive album yet, or how it isn’t as heavy as its preceding pieces. It’s a good joke, but I don’t know that I’d call it true. Ultimately, Trinity sees more use of singing and more atmosphere and symphonic elements to underscore the album’s cinematography (if I can use that term respective to an LP)—but it’s also a longer album, and make no mistake, it’s righteously chunky when it needs to be. Still heavy, still ruthless with both lyrics, licks and languishing percussion, The Gloom in the Corner return after too long a quietus with Trinity—a record you’re better off worshiping than…well, any other trinity.
For Fans Of: Left to Suffer, Ice Nine Kills, VCTMS, Sworn In
By: Connor Welsh