The Texas four-piece Glassing reflect a remarkable level of ambition on their new album, Twin Dream, out this November from Brutal Panda Records.
Twin Dream could be broadly described as post-metal, but that’s just a starting point. Within this album, Glassing also venture through black metal, post-rock, and ambient, uniting the wide-ranging mixture with a current of cathartically impactful force. Even while showcasing this expansive flow of musical textures, Twin Dream often remains quite energetic, pushing into areas of freeing emotional exploration—even if it feels like you’re wringing out your insides in the process.
Twin Dream proves monumentally intense, but also strikingly surreal, with shifting tides of sound poised to sweep bystanders into the depths of the band’s world. At times, this album is devastatingly ferocious, but Glassing stick to startlingly poignant songwriting. Moving through the album is exhilarating, as even while taking in the weighty, cosmic burdens suggested by the music, unpredictability tends to define the journey.
Via the striking and often lush textures that swirl within Twin Dream and the smooth, Zen-like connections between the sprawling components, the album is a rush. The record’s broad swings, driven by shimmering tones, suggest engaging drama—as though dragging oneself to the shore of an otherworldly pool, seeking relief.
With its wall-of-sound-style bulk, Twin Dream ends up feeling stately, looming like an ominous vortex offering respite.
The record’s consistent push forward and its incorporation of contemplative, gentle passages alongside blasts of metal evoke a sense of settling into some kind of serenely quiet stillness. The music is heavy, both through the raw power of the more intense portions and the sheer weight of the album’s atmosphere, so those more relaxed moments don’t quite absolve the tension of the rest of the record. Instead, the adeptly interwoven gentility further expands the album’s experience—which feels quite cinematic in scope.
Below, check out what Glassing bassist and vocalist Dustin Coffman and guitarist Cory Brim have to say about the creation of Twin Dream, from “painting” with guitars to ambient music for yoga sessions, and a “hella spooky” recording studio.
Since there’s such a formidable range of sounds contained within the album, are there elements that come to mind that bind the various sonic threads together, in your perspective?
Coffman: I guess a common factor with our music has always been this integration of different genres, like we kind of just pick the things that we like the most about different genres that we’re fans of and try to integrate that as seamlessly as possible. I guess fundamentally our band probably is more—I would probably say like metal, like hardcore, maybe screamo. But we’ve integrated a lot of elements of post-rock, doom metal, and black metal in there. And we try to keep it consistent, but it really kind of revolves around the tone of each of our instruments, and I guess the way the vocals come through, and the lyrical content.
So, from our very first EP, we’ve definitely evolved a lot. And then since our first full-length, we were kind of continuing going down the path of adding in more things that we just find interesting. And sometimes that means dialing back the metal aspect of our band, which we’re totally comfortable with doing. At one point, we might not have been able to pull that off and be as comfortable as we are now, but I think these days, we’re just interested in aspects of shoegaze and post-rock, in addition to black metal and doom metal. So, we just kind of feel it out and see what’s appropriate for the feeling.
I feel like we’re at the point where we could write any type of song, and there would be something memorable or familiar with Cory’s guitar tones. He’s spent a lot of time working on that and making that his own signature sound. We’ve kind of done the same things with bass, and vocals, and drums. So, it’s one of those things that’s like, as long as we have this template for how our style is, I feel like we can take on just about any genre that’s in that wheelhouse.
Brim: Maybe one tiny element to the music is that we’re trying to be provocative a little bit—something that may evoke some sort of feeling, instead of it just being focused on technicality or just a riff being a riff. A lot of my sounds are texture-based and not necessarily just riffing, and so, to me, it kind of comes from a place where I’m trying to evoke some sort of feeling from the sounds and not just like trying to be badass or whatever.
How would you describe your approach to cultivating those specific tones? Is there something specific that, at least in the context of this latest album, you were really after?
Brim: I definitely put a lot of work into making sure the tones are on point. […] We always talk about, it’s great to be a tight band, like that’s kind of number one, but a very close second if not tied to number one is the timbre. And I remember just being in bands being younger, where we could get through songs and stuff, but it just sounded terrible, you know? And I think, while we’re not the most technically proficient band—I mean, there’s some tricky spots—I think we shine by trying to sound good, if not be the most fast and technical band in the world.
For me, it’s kind of just tons of trying to stay in the loop on what gear works for me. I wouldn’t call myself necessarily a gear-head, but I definitely know what tools to use, without having to use one of those multi-effects processors. Which I know a lot of people like, and actually, bands in our genre, some of them use them, but for the most part, I kind of feel like there’s two different genres of metal. There’s the djent-y, kind of deathcore stuff, which uses these multi-effects processors, and then there’s bands that are more like us that kind of piece together their pedals.
We were going to go to Europe before COVID, and I was more interested in making sure I didn’t lose my pedalboard than I was my guitar or our merch. I downsized my pedalboard to where I could fit nine pedals on a single pedalboard that I could carry with me and that would fit the technical specifications of the airline, so I could carry it on. I like to say that my pedals are like my paint, like my paint brush is the guitar, and I’m very particular about the type of paint that I use.
So, considering that broad range of styles that your music touches upon, how do you approach musical inspiration in general? Is it more a matter of doing your own thing, so to speak?
Coffman: I guess one of the things that we kind of always try to do with a record is, we want some sort of dynamic flow to happen for the album composition. So, making every single track a straight hellish banger is cool, but the favorite albums that we’ve all enjoyed are like, they have some sort of ebb and flow to the track listing. So, doing that with a metal band, you have this really freeform creative outlet, where if you’re not blasting and you’re not having these aggressive parts, then what are the little segues between songs, and how does that represent your style?
So, for us, because we’re so connected to the post-rock genre, a lot of the stuff that we did on this record kind of—I guess I would call it, like, early, early post-rock. Like, there’s a track on the record called “Godless Night” which is just guitar and drums, which I think sounds a lot like something that a band like Bowery Electric would have done back in the ’90s, which is super cool. It’s probably one of my favorite tracks on the whole record, and that band in general is just like a complete vibe. So, it’s like, integrating elements like that from their style with our style, it kind of creates this whole dynamic context, which is kind of hard to pin down in exact words.
Brim: I think we went into this album, first of all, with a lot more time to record. Having that extra time to record and explore kind of made it to where we could consider, hey, it’s okay to write a song that we know may not ever get played live. I think we used to constrain ourselves to that, because you get excited when you’re working on a song, like, “Oh, I can’t wait to play this,” and sometimes you play it too early, and you fuck it up.
We were trying to make an album this time and not a bunch of songs for a show that was just going to be a collection of songs to be put on an album. It gave us the opportunity to say, “Hey, this song can just be on the record,” and it’s what it is. It’s us doing something, but it’s not going to be a banger that we’re going to play live. And maybe we do, but it’s trying to cover that broad range of feelings and concepts that we’re trying to get across, and you can’t do that when it’s just the same kind of song throughout the whole album.
The other projects that we have, one of them I think that I kind of pull into Glassing is—I perform ambient yoga sets. So, people stretch and do yoga while I play really ambient, kind of ocean sounds, more or less—and so kind of bringing elements of that sort of meditative quality into the band, it works, I think, for us.
As for the themes of the record, from where did you draw inspiration? And how did your recording environment—i.e., a studio that’s been referenced elsewhere—weigh on the album’s direction?
Coffman: We had like a few songs, but we wrote most of it in the studio, and Cory just kind of pulled the trigger on some studio time with our engineer because we knew his schedule was going to be super busy. And COVID just hit, so me and Jason [Camacho], our drummer, we got laid off. And we were pretty worried about things, you know, like everyone else was at that time. It was just kind of really uncertain.
And we had this studio time, and it was like, we would go into the studio, and even though the outside world was chaos and this mess of whatever was going on, and our personal lives were messes, we could go to the studio, and time kind of stood still for us there. We were able to just kind of focus on doing this one thing, and because it was so time-sensitive for us, because we were writing in the studio, and we were doing pretty much everything in the studio, we didn’t have a lot of time to chop up the songs and do our normal routine of over-analyzing things.
So, a lot of it was the first initial feeling of how we felt at the time—it was being put down into the session. Which I thought was really cool, and I’d never done anything like that at the time. It was really therapeutic, just to create and not to have to hassle with, well, is this the coolest thing that we could do, or what else can we do to really perfect this—which is usually how we go about things, and sometimes it’s better to just pull the trigger.
And then the studio that we were playing at was this old Texas country studio, it was decrepit—it’s good though. It fits the vibe. It’s, like, hella spooky. There’s just kind of this old brick, like exposed brick. The other day, I was hanging out with our sound engineer, and he told me a scorpion had just walked into the sound engineer room. He didn’t know what to do with it. It’s one of those things where you see it, and you’re just like, this is an old, timeless relic, and it really fit the vibe of what we were going for. It really kind of put us into the headspace of it.
Although the record definitely contains ample intensity, would you say that there’s a push towards peace—or something like that—within it?
Coffman: Yeah, for sure—absolutely. It kind of happened a little accidentally in that aspect, but the whole theme of the record, the title Twin Dream, and the way that the heavier songs interweave with the slower, more peaceful songs—the ebb and flow was definitely supposed to be this extreme contrast between the two.
For whatever reason, if we’re doing a track, it’s difficult for us to write anything in between, like heavy or subdued, just because we like to embrace that dynamic fully, you know? Like if you’re going to go heavy, then make it as rough and aggressive and brutal as possible. Otherwise, it’s like: why even bother?
Same thing goes with the chill aspect. It’s like, if this doesn’t feel like some sort of drugged up fever dream or something, then what exactly is the point? So, we take those extremes, and we wanted to balance those extremes with each other, and it just so happened to fit the overall theme of the title track and how the album was composed in general.
Brim: I kind of view it more as showing a little bit of the music as being kind of delicate, and maybe even some vulnerability a little bit, to show that we’re not a tough guy, breakdown band. The heavy stuff’s more cathartic than just being angry or just being tough, you know what I mean?
And after that gets out, there’s this sort of afterglow of it, and that’s where you hear some of those songs like “Godless Night” and “Where Everything Is Still” and stuff like that. Those songs are kind of delicate, kind of vulnerable, and are kind of a reflection of some of the heavier songs that happen before, and kind of play into that Twin Dream motif.
Listen to “Burden” below:
Photo courtesy of Glassing and Elan Mendoza