Glass Casket

We Are Gathered Here Today [2004]

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Could North Carolina's Glass Casket be the blink-182 or Good Charlotte of Swedish-style grindcore, a bridge to the pop mainstream for a musical style that previously wanted nothing to do with Total Request Live? It looks like Abacus Records might think so, because the label has pulled the familiar major-label move of reissuing a recent buzz album in spiffy new packaging with multimedia content (in this case, an "uncensored" version of the video for first single "In Between the Sheets") and, notably, more photos featuring the Hot Topic-ready eye candy appeal of singer Adam Cody. That said, how's the album itself? Stylistically interesting, actually, especially in the way that the band subtly mold the tropes of grindcore into something a bit more pop-friendly. That aforementioned single is about half the speed of the average song in the style, and Cody only goes into the now-clich├ęd and dorky Cookie Monster vocal style once over the course of the song. More importantly, guitarists Dustie Waring and Ian Tuten sneak some mainstream AOR guitar solos into the song's expansive second half, where in place of the usual mosh part, the song shifts into an unexpected B section that's actually rather pretty. The rest of the album never quite hits the heights of this genuinely impressive single, but songs like the opening "Pencil Lead Syringe" and "Chew Your Fingers" use the same mix of styles and quick-change guitar riffs, and drummer Blake Richardson is technically quite impressive throughout. We Are Gathered Here Today is still a straight-up punk-influenced metal album, but it may well be the poppiest album yet released in the style.

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