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Glass Underworld

There’s a broad destructiveness to Glass Underworld, the latest full-length outing from Brighton producer Dead Fader, that in one instant evokes a towering, booming fireball and in the next plunges you deep into an impenetrable, subaquatic darkness. It’s like jumping from a blazing oil rig, only to land in a flooded mine. Except that, as you scrape further under the density of the record, it becomes apparent that’s maybe not such a disconcerting experience after all.

Underneath the bonnet is a fundamentally melodic, almost airy record, deftly pieced together with an ear for both rhythm and sensitivity, which then proceeds to be buried under a crushing pallet of distortion and noise until it becomes something altogether more terrifying. With its echoing synths and eerie amphibian flourishes, ‘Glass Cathedral’ is like a sort of beat-less Drexciyan creation, while you can almost feel the pressure tightening as ‘Not One’ descends further and further away from sea level.

With its dampened brass section, ‘Mud Underworld’ proves to be chirpily close to a misnomer, while the softly lurching ‘Nine Strokes’ is – by Dead Fader’s standards, at least – positively breezy. The album’s longest track, ‘Thunderstorm’, reflects the balance of ‘Glass Underworld’ nicely in the space of seven and a half minutes, as it entwines an optimistic, steadily wavering synth with increasingly harsh layers of noise, chugged along by an industrial kick and snare beat.

An imposing but rewarding listen.