A vertical slice is video game development jargon for a level that showcases a game’s complete set of mechanics, components, and gimmicks. The Austin-based Glassing have written their own perfect vertical slice with “Absolute Virtue,” the newest track from their upcoming third album Twin Dream. The song is a bronco trying to buck you off its back as it ravages multiple genres across its lithe four-minute runtime. Glassing’s black metal, noise rock, doom, and post-rock concoction is emulsified by their apocalyptic worldview. Brace yourself for the headtrip with our premiere below.

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While the aforementioned genres may be the styles de-jour, and genre cross-pollination is hardly a novelty, Glassing find the commonalities between each in one streamlined pursuit. They don’t innovate so much as they investigate. None of the genres they pull from are optimistic per se, but they each express their solemnity differently. For example, post-rock’s solitude is miles away from black metal’s rejection of humanity. To tie these loose threads into a quilted noose, Glassing escalate affairs, binding “Absolute Virtue” with bombastic vigor.

That’s all to say that Glassing’s broad palette is more intelligent than just glueing the butt ends of each component together. They load noise rock’s tonality and math rock rhythm to re-calibrate black metal, turning it from a haunting ground into an outrage. Their fretboards shriek as if the group is struggling to contain it with an otherworldly force. Later, Glassing contort sludge-laden riffs until the rhythm doubles over itself. The ensuing reverberation eventually gives way to a spacious coda, ending “Absolute Virtue” in another solar system than the one in which it began.

The band comments:

This track is about humanity's slow burn to extinction. The question of where do we find the will to persist as things just get worse? The title “Absolute Virtue” describes this very crucial, hidden spiritedness that guides our self preservation.

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Twin Dream releases November 5 via Brutal Panda.

Record Release Show: 11/13 in Austin, TX @ Hotel Vegas [tickets]