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The Glorious Sons win heart of modern rock

Listen to The Glorious Sons in the playlist below.  Read more about your new favorite artists with other great work in the A&E section of Lancer Spirit Online
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Listen to The Glorious Sons in the playlist below. Read more about your new favorite artists with other great work in the A&E section of Lancer Spirit Online

The sun shines down bringing a veil of gold over the northern Canadian forests.  A shimmer of light breaks the tree line and a faint harmony echoes through the pines.  Not a susurrus swirl nor babbling brook.  The harmony turns cacophonous as heavy metal blares.

In the woods alone rocks a band you’ve never heard before.

A band that is the quintessence of modern rock.

A band that calls themselves The Glorious Sons.

In 2013 The Glorious Sons launched their debut album Shapeless Art.  The rocker featured just seven tracks, but the brevity of the album was overshadowed by its quality, being encapsulated in blistering tracks, “Mama,” “Caroline,” and “Ruby.”

“Mama” is the perfect introduction track for all new The Glorious Sons listeners.  The track starts off as a gritty, acoustic ballad but transitions into a pure, raw rocker.  The opening of the track is solo vocals before an explosive orchestration rushes in and dominates the song.  This loud instrumentation continues through verses and choruses all the way until the bridge.

Once finally arriving at the bridge, the raucous backing silences and crafts a path for one of the most fun sections of music in modern memory: the harmonica solo.  It is a bombastic bonanza of one of the oddest, yet mellifluous instruments put into a song.  Its loud and gawdy and just downright great.  It almost acts as the final chorus, setting up the final solo vocals that end the song in the same powerful way it started.

“Caroline” has found its niche as the danciest track the band has produced.  While still being a far cry from anything that would play at homecoming, the track is as shoe-shuffling as hard-rock gets.  The track opens with piano and trades in the gritty “real-world-problems” vocals for a fun-loving track.

For the chorus, the song rockets into a stadium-rock style sing-along chorus.  The track relies heavily on this chorus as the verses are quality but not memorable and the bridge is just downright forgettable.  The greatness of the chorus can’t be denied though, as this was one of the highlighted tracks, showing that while the song may not be as well-rounded as some of the other tracks featured, it still amalgamates into a fantastic song.

“Ruby” is the duality of The Glorious Sons put into a singular song.  The track opens off with raw piano ballad.  The ballad plays somberly and sets the mood for the first half of the song.  The first verse and chorus don’t use dynamic contour opting to use a flat energy carried by the meaning in the vocals and the vocal performance itself.

The second act of the song starts with a transition from piano to guitar heavy instrumentation.  The vocals and all the backings explode into a giant orchestration, introducing the rock side of Glorious Sons.  It cranks into double-time and falls back on instrumentation rather than vocals to carry it.  This change in pace and direction also changes the song’s mood from blue to seeing red.  The duality of this track is something unparalleled in modern rock allowing this to truly stand out.

Following their strong opening album, The Glorious Sons followed it up with another meritorious modern rock exhibition.  2015’s The Union shredded onto the scene with the same viciousness as the band’s prior work but had an artistic blend of leather-jacket-rock and soulful, southern hymns shown in featuring tracks “Heavy,” “Man Made Man,” and “Amigo.”

“Lover Under Fire” is pure rock and a little bit of anger towards the one that treated you like garbage.  The song is centered around the idea of not being enough for someone and constantly feeling that the people closest to you are being critical of you.  The rock side of it allows for the feeling of breaking free from these chains of judgement and just being you.

The song features heavy drum licks and searing guitar riffs.  This constant bombardment of guitar and drums adds into the feeling of being trapped that the song tries to convey, but simultaneously acts as an almost sense of relief and freedom from the judgement the song sings of escaping.  This ability to act as foiling ideas is just another showcase of the brilliance in The Glorious Sons’ music.

“Man Made Man” might just be the band’s hardest rocking hit they’ve ever produced.  Bringing to mind images of steel cars and Appalachia blue collar towns, the track is all about dirty-handed oil-stained hard work that builds the character to become a man.  While it’s kind of a machismo bro-rocker, the song does play into more visceral emotions that shy away from a song just for dudes.

The instrumentation is raucous with a tint of showmanship flair.  An odd placement in a song that is meant to be so gritty, but the guitar licks are borderline braggadocios with the way they flaunt the band’s skill.  Besides this however, the band’s formula for producing this hit was to be downright, steaming mad.

“Amigo” is longer than long.  Lasting the entirety of its six-minute runtime, the song teeters on the edge of an acceptable listening length but manages to be successful in being excellent.  The sing is a ballad to a fallen friend and consists of lyrics that reminisce on time spent together.

The song meanders through piano-centric and acoustic guitar-centric backings but stays stagnant in its relentless attempt to make you cry.  The touch of the keys and plucking of the strings is gentle and romantic, providing the perfect supportive contrast with the story being told.

While both of the band’s first two albums were excellent, it wasn’t until 2017 with Young Beauties and Fools where The Glorious Sons hit their peak.  The album is an absolute masterclass in rock.  Every single track is incredible, but the three standouts of the album came in “S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun),” “Godless, Graceless and Young,” and “Josie.”

“S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)” is stadium-rock at its finest.  The song tells a grinding story of struggle through a booming chorus, hard verses and a defining bridge.  Partnered with the deafening drum backing and blaring guitars, the track is truly a modern rock masterpiece.

The track opens up with a loud solo drum, positioning the listener into the mindset of the song.  Continuing into the first verse, the song makes the narrator out to be a troubled individual and one that has reached their breaking point.  After everything is set up, the chorus is screaming and is an evocative take on the downfall of the narrator and many in the situation of dealing with substance abuse.

“Godless, Graceless and Young” is Young Beauties and Fool’s most fun track.  The song romanticizes being bad and honestly, it works.  With a chorus that rings “It feels so damn good to be godless, graceless and young,” it just takes one listen to get your leather jackets and tight jeans ready to initiate your full metamorphosis into being a bad-boy.

The instrumentation really isn’t anything special, however the inflection of the vocals sets the song apart from most of the other songs from the album.  Featuring in the aforementioned chorus, “so damn good” is drawn out and emphasized to accentuate the carefree nature about being bad that the vocals invoke.  This style occurs throughout the song and gives it a true dialect rather than just a dialogue.

“Josie” is hands-down the band’s best song.  It is immaculate, spectacular, fantastic and any other synonym for great.  Still fitting in with the album’s theme of being bad, “Josie” differentiates itself in switching the object of the song: a third-person narrative on a girl named Josie over the first-person perspective of a Steve McQueen type.

The whole song builds this mysterious, jet-black-alley-cat persona of Josie and around it the instrumentation builds in a constant crescendo.  The verses are storytelling and the chorus is magical.  The bridge brings out the stadium-rock side of it and all of it together is the perfect rock song.

It would be a near impossible task to match the achievement of what the band accomplished in 2017, but two years later they managed to do it with their 2019 album A War on Everything.  The band shifted the style of their music to a more intense and gritty sound, gearing their work to a more storytelling aesthetic.  The story the band was telling was summed up in the albums three best tracks, “Panic Attack,” “Pink Motel,” and “The Laws of Love and War.”

“Panic Attack” is the album’s opening track and it gets the listener ready for what’s to come.  It is kind of a screamo song which can easily be seen as an unattractive feature of the song, but in the context of the entire track and album, it is the perfect opener for a very real and raw product.

“Pink Motel” is another long-winded track produced by the band.  It takes the drawn-out duration of “Amigo” and the duality of “Ruby,” putting it together in one song.  The combination of both works, with the length being excused by the duality practically splitting the songs into two acts.

“The Laws of Love and War” is the most intimate track the band has produced since “Amigo.”  This time the song doesn’t need six minutes however to be beautiful.  All of three minutes is needed to craft a truly beautiful ballad on the bad times after breakups.

Now despite their aforementioned excellence, you’ll probably never hear of them again.

Like the fleeting sound of babbling brooks or susurrus swirls.

Like an echo in a northern wood.

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TJ Ruzicka
TJ Ruzicka, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Described in one word… ineffable.

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The Glorious Sons win heart of modern rock