GLACIER from Portland, Oregon, US are back with two new songs that will be released as an EP in all the popular formats (CD, vinyl cassette and digital). This double sided EP will be called “Spears of the Empire”.
I was quite surprised listening the new GLACIER material and I can assure you that this particular EP release will be one of a kind for the GLACIER legacy. It actually marks a new musical chapter for the band through two compositions that will be available exclusively on this release (see bellow).
In most of the cases the classic Heavy Metal vibe was the main feature that would characterize this band from Oregon musically. I am mainly referring to their “Ready for Battle” debut demo from 1984, to their classic same titled Mini LP from 1985 and of course to their comeback 2020 “The Passing of Time” full length on No Remorse Records.
I am not putting into the above frame the “Demo 1988” masterpiece in which we can witness a more Power / Prog version of the band. Well this demo is a total different story, it featured a different line up and we would need a huge amount of words to describe to those who do not already know, how unique this recording is. Perhaps on a special future article about this GLACIER period. Now we got to point the basics.
So in those initially mentioned three releases (demo 84, Mini LP 85 and comeback 2020 album) we basically got a solid Heavy Metal formula that is actually expanded through Power Metal elements. This mixture actually highlights the classic GLACIER sound that was always their big trademark from the beginning till today.
Now the band is actually evolving this trademark, highlighting two new compositions that feature the classic Heavy / Power Metal sound of GLACIER, mixed with lots of Epic / Power elements and delivered to the listener under a technical installment that left me speechless.
I can assure you that those new tracks are the most epic, technical and rich sounding songs that the GLACIER of the new age have composed. This is simply magnificent stuff.
I am really surprised hearing that many parts of both the tracks are based on East Mediterranean and near-Eastern scales. This feature gives both the songs an outstanding, epic vibe. In fact GLACIER were never sounded THAT epic. Of course there is some solid Power Metal riffing as well -so yeah the old school ones need not to worry-.
“Spears of the Empire” is a mid tempo anthem, emphasizing on this epic vibe that the band wants to highlight (in fact I have to point that GLACIER never sounded so epic). Excellent technical riffing, amazing lead melodies and outstanding vocals are the top features in here. In the middle the song would become faster, featuring some amazing Power Metal oriented guitar work both in riffs and lead parts. I can point that this one features one of my favorite GLACIER solo guitar parts.
“The Word and the Will” is a fast composition giving enough room to the Power Metal riffing to shine, while almost all the lead melodic parts of the song -vocal lines, guitar leaks- etc- are based on Eastern scales. The song features some great breaks as well especially after the middle where the band develops an outstanding bridge before the song’s final epic part. Many changes on the rhythm parts would eventually drive the listener from faster to more mid tempo moments and yes those mid tempo parts carry a serious anthemic touch.
A feature that I would like to point in both the songs is the excellent vocal-work that has been done. Michael Podrybau delivers some amazing vocal melodies and I can really point that his voice is sounding on excellent shape, even better than the comeback 2020 album. Now here is some serious singing dudes.
“Spears of the Empire” EP, was originally intended to be the first of five, with each release featuring two paired tracks and their own aesthetic theme – ultimately culminating in a box set to house the 10 tracks as a completed collection. The idea was to hasten material turnover rates, as well as to exercise our song writing with some thematic styles and subjects. However the band realized that this approach would prove rather cost-heavy to both them and the fanbase, so they eventually decided to put the grand scheme on hold and simply finalize these two songs, which were already in progress at the time.
The songs “Spears of the Empire” and “The Word and the Will” are equal opposites of a sort, and not necessarily an “A” and “B” side, and the artwork was designed with that intent.
The songs concept
They both play upon early Bronze Age motifs of chariot warfare, dynastic rule, and archaic mythologies, with one song lyrically focusing upon the merits / benefits of centralized elite leadership, while the other leans more heavily on the ugly realities of conquest and enslavement.
As already pointed this pair of songs will be released a dual-sided EP and they will not roll into the next full length album. So as you can understand here we are dealing with two exclusives.
GLACIER are delivering two magnificent compositions of technical Heavy / Epic / Power Metal. I really wish that they would follow this particular on their next album. This evolved musical installment works great for them.