Last week, I focused more on progressive metal with some brutal offerings from Fires in the Distance, Stomb, and Ignea. This week, I’m in the mood for something different. Chasms offers something like that. The new album is called Glimpse of Heaven, and it released on February 24th.
Chasms comes to us from Los Angeles, California and is the solo project for vocalist Jess Labrador. I believe that Joshua Eustis provides the piano, bass, and production for this album. I discovered Chasms through her relationship with shoegaze band Deserta, one of my favorites in that genre. I really hope that lineup makes its way to the eastern side of the country at some point.
Chasms plays a hazy and ambient dream pop. It is starkly electronic and full of hovering atmospheres, misty reflections, and great design color and choice. The music is mostly Jess’ vocals mixed with delicate piano hooks, synth lines, and electronic beats, though some tracks have no beat at all, and you’ll hear some guitars here and there. There is a certain alternative vibe that lies upon the entire affair; I think I detect that in the lyrics that describe feelings of being wanted, being thought of, being appreciated as a person.
Glimpse of Heaven isn’t a long album, running only about 36 minutes. Its nine tracks are packed with wonderfully ethereal ideas, though, and strong hooks that will have you singing along even on the first time you’ve heard the album. There is a sense of vapor and light through the playtime, of floating emotion and unspoken pain. It ends up feeling quite hypnotic in that way, almost like a book you can’t put down. I sense a numbness here, that sort of coldness you feel when you don’t want to feel any more or other people’s actions make you want to crawl into your shell again. Yet, there is a deep sense of beauty and eloquence within it, in that glimpse of what it could be like to be loved for who you are first and foremost.
I really like every song here. “Ache”, the opener, grabbed me immediately with its burning synth and suffocating, yet enormous atmosphere. “Another Dream” has a nostalgic feeling that I really like, almost whimsical. The title track is somehow busy and also spacious; I love the chorus on that one.
The middle three tracks are my favorites, I must say. “Decay” is a dark and murky trudge through personal pain and honesty; I like the synth on it. “Parallel” picks up that pace with a vibrant, whirling song full of thoughts and worries and doubts. I love how colorful and spellbinding it sounds. Yet, the album hits an even bigger wall of emotional honesty with “Things Have Changed”, a track that is mostly about drifting vocals and stark lyrics. These three tracks represent what I love about the album.
The final three songs are great, too, though. “Aftertaste” has a dark bass drive to it with abstract percussion and rhythm. “Submit” has one of my favorite choruses; I think I end up singing this one the most. “Waiting for the Spell to Break” closes the album with sparse vocals, electronic edge, and feelings of waiting, wondering, and wishing for changes to come. It leaves us on a desperate note, somewhat, but a relatable one where the spell of manipulated love and affection is about to break.
If you need something a little different or find that you need music for a certain mood, I think Chasms will fit that well. Glimpse of Heaven offers gorgeous atmospheres in which to get lost, and lyrical themes that are human and familiar. I love how many of the songs are embellished with hints of melody or light, offering a peek at what could be outside the veil, outside the spell. So far, this album doesn’t get old at all.
Find Chasms online: