It’s no secret that artists are peddlers of varied passions. Musicians in particular are guilty of being in pursuit of simultaneous primary, side, and experimental projects, living out the great Pablo Picasso adage, “Others have seen what is and asked why; I have seen what could be and asked why not.”
Perhaps that insatiable itch to discover and create is the reason artists such as Josh Kincheloe bring an alternative artistic expression into the world in the midst of an active career. In his case, it was when he was touring as Icon for Hire’s bassist and backing vocalist that he sacrificed in the name of creating Glasslands, his solo gig that began to take on a life of its own.
Joined by former Beartooth percussionist Brandon Mullins, Kincheloe is now half of a cosmically inspired, alt-metal duo. Together, they’re in line to be the new favorite band of those looking for a restructured improvement of metal and rock sub-genres, highlighting the best parts of both. The interesting thing is their excellent standing has more to do with what they are not: They don’t pigeon-hole themselves into a single style. They’re not tiresome or monotonous. And most importantly, they’re not leftovers from their previous bands.
With heavy riffs and savage drumming, Glasslands’ debut album, Pariah, is undeniably metalcore fusion, but the fusion part is what makes it memorable. The secret ingredient on this album is the contrasting harmony between Kincheloe and Mullins. The third track, “Fame,” is a shining example. Its alt-rock vocals peppered with a higher register and the occasional harsh scream mix beautifully together. Although any track could sit in as a favorite on this album, “Meaningless” holds a special place for its overall intelligent arrangement and haunting vocal choices in the chorus. With a lyrical construct as fearless as the execution of the song itself, it’s the pinnacle of Pariah.
Among a number of incredibly strong metal, rock and hardcore albums released in 2016, Glasslands’ entire first album is worthy of commendation. They’re really that good. Here’s to hoping this is only the first in a very long series of similarly great works.