Denver’s Ghosts of Glaciers issue their new album, The Greatest Burden on 27 September via Translation Loss. “Epigenesis” gives listeners a glimpse into the progressive/post-rock/metal outfit’s latest sojourn, featuring cover artwork by Adam Gersh.
Deeply melodic and yet sacrificing nothing in terms of heft, “Epigenesis” imagines what Rush might have sounded like had Geddy Lee and friends listened to a steady diet of Neurosis, Manilla Road, and Sonna. The progressive elements are subtle but important, the metallic leanings played tastefully, sans hyperbole. Then, without warning, the piece takes off into the wonderfully aggressive terrain of early, primitive thrash. Can they hang on? Can you? It’s refreshing to hear an epic instrumental of this caliber and ambition in the current musical climate.
Guitarist Steve Jackson says, “This was one of the first songs we wrote for this album. It came together very easily and highlights the wide variety of dynamics and moods represented in the rest of the album.”
He adds, “Epigenesis occurs when plants, animals, and fungi develop from a seed/embryo/spore. Their cells differentiate on their own to form organs, tissue, etc. These sudden changes are influenced by their environments. These cycles and sequences of development repeat over and over throughout nature. Outside of this dry scientific explanation, epigenesis is all about nature’s resiliency and ability to cycle and adapt and spontaneously create new life. In many ways, art imitates life, and we wanted to reflect this idea of organic cycles and spontaneous evolution through our songwriting.”
Reflecting further, Jackson notes, “The song highlights our dynamic range and ability to convey meaning, even without lyrics. Because we do not work with lyrics to tell stories, we use the different moods and tones in our songs to tell stories and introduce meaning. We don’t start with a specific structure or song length in mind either. Because of that, our music can have a through-composed structure at times. What starts as a chaotic mix of riffs and tones and themes gets fleshed out and structured as we go.”
The song, then, is appropriate to the journey Jackson and his bandmates took in creating the album. “This is an example of the endless cycle of life and death in our known universe,” he offers. “This song was like an actual seed which came to life and helped create momentum for the album itself to form. This feeling of cycles naturally exists in our song-writing, we just put some intentionality behind the songs for this album to have a more cohesive experience.”