Catharsis is one of the most powerful emotions that can be communicated through music, as it is a very multilayered feeling. There is the empowerment and triumph that comes along with it, but also the place the catharsis has to come out of, the vulnerability and toil that leads to the singular victory that is catharsis. Alice Glass’s solo career has been defined by this, reaching to the absolute darkest places of human experience to craft explosive bangers that resonate because of their authenticity as much as their craft.
“Love is Violence” doesn’t take very long to bring the energy. From the first second of the song screaming vocals come in with a short verse filled with primal imagery, “you taste of rotten meat // sips of spoiled milk” is the first line. Alice Glass’ line delivery has always been very direct, not by screaming as loud as some metal bands but by being able to pack a lot of complex feelings into every yell that acts as a courier for the lyrical themes as well. As the song progresses, the relationship between the central characters unfolds, it’s clearly abusive and taking a toll on the protagonist who is desperate for some outlet for her frustrations: “I don’t want to think // I need to kill”. In tapping into very basic and fundamental emotions, Glass creates a universality while offering a powerfully obvious presentation of what she and the character in the song are feeling.
All of this is conveyed on top of suitably thrilling instrumentals. When the track goes hard the bass goes harder, with powerful kicks accompanying spurts of furious hi-hats to keep up with the speed of the vocal delivery, and when the track goes contemplative there is a simple synth line in the background, comparatively calming but still building towards the next outburst. The quiet is often placed right beside the ferocious to create a contrast that’s both thematic and memorable.
If you get a chance, definitely check out the music video but maybe don’t watch it while eating like I did. It cuts back and forth between two people watching an Alice Glass video and disemboweling each other, all shown in excruciating detail to hammer home her themes of pain in a relationship.
Alice Glass’ debut album, “Prey//IV” is set to release on February 16 and it’s definitely my most anticipated album of the early part of 2022. Part of the anticipation is due to her career trajectory; she left her previous band, Crystal Castles, in 2014 but has taken a long time to heal from the trauma she experienced while a part of it, which has come up in the singles and EP she released since then as well as the statement on the homepage of her website (trigger warning, this gets really heavy). If she feels she’s ready to release an album now, then I’m both very happy she feels she’s at the right place mentally to make more music and also excited for what that means in terms of the music being released.