Jun 062024

Beginning in 2019 the mysterious U.S. black metal entity Glyph has provided a dozen short releases and two full-lengths, with a third album arriving imminently, i.e., tomorrow, via Milwaukee-based Shape of Storms Records and other labels whose names will be familiar to our readers.

The name of the new album, which we’re premiering in full today, stands as a signpost of what lies ahead: odes of wailing, hymns of mourning. And so it seems evident that the album represents a way or working through grief and pain, but it achieves that catharsis in startling, shattering, and ultimately triumphant fashion.

With 8 songs on the track list and a total run-time of about 35 minutes, you can deduce that the songs are relatively compact (the longest is the stunning album closer “Between Ghosts and Gloom“, which tops 6 minutes), and almost all of them seem to end too soon (because they’re so good).

The album experience begins with “Of the Caverns“. No gloomy meditation here, but instead a tidal wave of searing and soaring riffage, manically throbbing bass-lines, hammering and galloping drums, and napalm vocals pitched at the limit of human endurance.

Eerie wailing tones do waft above the blaze; the percussive patterns change continually; and vividly flickering leads enhance the song’s electrifying intensity. Immersive, sweeping, and panoramic in its scale, it’s a breathtaking way to begin.

From there, “Man Has Succumbed to Madness” changes the mood. The sound is still dense, shrill, and expansive, still capable of conjuring visions of the air itself on fire, but the mood is immediately more desolate and despairing, indeed like the heavens wailing.

Once again, the rhythmic patterns are in constant flux, and the prominent bass performance provides an attention-seizing counterpoint to the harrowing intensity of what’s happening around it. At times, the music seems to waltz, to become elegant, but even then the sensations are frightening.

All Anger and Hatred Manifesting” provides no relent in the album’s opening phase of intensity. It too is a harrowing experience. It too is near-symphonic in its scale and power, and while its rhythmic pulse is viscerally strong, the elaborately layered instrumentation sounds like sirens for the end of the world and the moans of stricken masses, while the shrieking vocals are blood-red in their fury and torment and reverberate as if expelled from within a vast hall.

From there, the songs become longer and even more multi-faceted, combining neo-classical (for want of a better word) orchestration, dissonant and discordant fretwork, spine-tingling screams, continually shifting drum and bass motifs (with the bass creating interesting harmonies with the piercing ring of the other sounds in the upper reaches of the range), and changing moods.

In grand and elaborate fashion, the music rages and storms, conjures chilling otherworldly vistas, and portrays emotional downfall on a planetary scale. Even with the warmth of the bass and head-hooking back-beats in the mix, there’s no escaping the feeling of inner and outer catastrophe that pervades almost all of this album.

But as relentlessly daunting and dire as the music is, we venture to guess that you won’t want to escape it. It’s more likely that you’ll forget to breathe, even as your mouth hangs open.

It turns out that the afore-mentioned closer, “Between Ghosts and Gloom“, is the most beautifully tragic song on the album, launched by the stricken wail of the lead guitar in a rare moment when the expansive sweep of the music diminishes. Even when the music towers again, it’s heart-breaking.

But when the music softens again, and becomes ethereal and sparkling, you might even get a glimpse of hope for the first time — a glimpse that becomes a glorious vista of triumph before the song ends. You might still forget to breathe again, but with your heart in your throat this time.

All in all, Glyph‘s new album is a stunning example of how the rendering of emotional damage can become magnificent, and ultimately a way of refusing to yield to the worst of what may come.



All instruments, recording, mixing, and mastering for the album were done by Keeper of the Glyph, with photography and art direction by Diane Reynolds.

Shape of Storms will release odes of wailing, hymns of mourning on June 7th, on bone white/black “A Side B Side” vinyl limited to 250 copies, with full color jackets, a heavyweight art insert, and a digital download code. Apparel is also available.

Via Fiadh Productions, Weregnome Records, and Snow Wolf Records, the album can also be ordered on CD, cassette tape, and digitally. Check the links below for more info about all the editions.



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