While we don’t really know if they’ll ever produce material again (especially considering Chad Hasty and Travis Sykes are now touring members of Glassjaw, and guitarist Joshua Travis is in Emmure), progressive metalcore supergroup Glass Cloud left us one hell of a debut album in 2012’s The Royal Thousand. Of all the notable supergroups in the metalcore and post-hardcore scenes over the years, Glass Cloud took just one record to truly raise the bar.
The Royal Thousand is sort of like a more accessible version of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, whose grindcore/progressive metal hybrid (that description probably doesn’t work, so take it with a grain of salt), was well-respected in their 4 full-lengths together. There’s also elements of modern progressive metalcore, like Erra and Elitist (RIP) Vocalist Jerry Roush (ex-Sky Eats Airplane) provides an effective counterpoint to Glass Cloud’s abrasive sound, painting The Royal Thousand with colors both bright (“Falling In Style”) and abrasive (“Ivy and Wine”), as well as both in the same song (“She Is Well And Nothing Can Be Ill”). It’s very impressive how well Roush delivers vocally on the record, and it’s all the more disappointing that the band hasn’t released any new material since 2013’s Perfect War Forever EP.
The band’s honestly brilliant rhythm section hasn’t even been discussed yet. Guitarist Joshua Travis, who’s plying his trade in Emmure, really sets the tone (literally) for the record. Groove metal-oriented sections that focus on technicality over sheer brutality are all over The Royal Thousand, as are melodic sections to break up any monotony that might occur. That’s not to say this isn’t a heavy record, though, because there’s breakdowns and riffs here that are just off-the-charts ridiculous. Take 2nd track “If He Dies, He Dies”, for instance. Probably the best example of the band’s dichotomy between heavy and melodic, this standout song ends with a breakdown that would make most grown adults cry into their coffee. Okay not really, but you see the point – Glass Cloud’s low end is what made this band and album one of the more exciting records of this genre – clearly they didn’t skimp on the bass and drums.
While many bands in the progressive metalcore (and metal in general) scene have often struggled to become more accessible with mixed results, Glass Cloud’s The Royal Thousand is a big achievement, even 6 years after its release. While the band’s future is unclear at this time, this is still a record worth revisiting. Especially “Ivy And Wine” – that track is still hypnotic.