‘Glass Heart’ has been a long time coming for Perth heavy outfit, Surroundings. After a string of solid singles over the last couple of years, like the banging ‘Paper Cranes’ and the soaring ‘Chronesthesia’, this new full-length is now releasing this Friday, March 1st. And much like the ‘Of Bane, Burden & Change’ LP before it in 2014, this is another tight, refined and emotive melodic metalcore effort from the talented yet sorely underrated WA group. Kindly giving us the inside scoop about the musical creation and lyrical themes of these 11 new tracks, vocalist Nick Roberts takes us through the riffy yet crystalline world of ‘Glass Heart’. From close-to-home losses and intimate sharings of relationships between lovers and family members alike, to even some social-commentary and personal catharsis, allow Nick and the band to reveal the inspirations and journey behind their latest body of work.
1. Clarity, Decay:
2. Paper Cranes:
“I think we chose to release this one first, with the exception of Elizabeth and Jane, as it bridges the two records sonically. Musically it could be from our first album, vocally Matt and I pushed ourselves to create the catchy melodies we touched on slightly on the first record and in the two following singles, Elizabeth and Jane.
Lyrically, it’s a social commentary on my view of the state of the world, how we are pushed together by our social interactions, folded, moulded and taught how to think of other people, countries and other people’s belief systems and ultimately, for us to progress as a whole, we need to stop taking sides against one another and group together toward common goals.
The working title for this song was HG, or “Heavy Groove”. Lindsay started calling it HR, “Human Resources”, so I snuck in a reference to the working title into the final song: “Dividing us as no more than human resources.“”
“With this song, we tried something we hadn’t done before, having mainly clean sung vocals over the verse and a huge anthemic chorus, with trading vocal lines straight into a strange off-beat breakdown. The lyrics reflect a line Drew said to me: “biding your time, the clouds turn grey“, which set the idea of the song. This song is about waiting for things to come to you, instead of seizing them for yourself, and just going for it.”
4. The River’s Edge:
“This song was almost scrapped from the album, believe it or not. It was one of the first tracks I laid vocals down for. With a very ambitious amount of clean singing, we all ultimately weren’t happy with the first attempt. We put it aside for a while, I took nearly a year worth of singing lessons, and we gave this another shot. The meaning has been touched on before, but it’s ultimately about feeling stuck where you are and not the person you want to be.”
5. End As Ashes
“The idea for Jane was originally an ambient, clean song, more in the rock territory. Where as Elizabeth was the heavy, more-Surroundings style sister song. The more we jammed it in the rehearsal space, the more we realised it needed the same punch as Elizabeth and that’s where the massive verse riff and the rest of the heavier parts came from. We toyed with the idea of doing a two track release, but we kept writing songs and it eventually became the album, Glass Heart. Jane is my mother’s middle name and its lyrical themes are inspired by our relationship.”
8. Burnt Pages:
“Elizabeth is the sister track to Jane, as mentioned before. We set out to write a track that would bridge the gap between our first album and where we were aiming for next. When we wrote both Elizabeth and Jane, Matt had joined us on bass and ushered in a new creative energy, in which we penned both songs quite quickly. Drew put together ideas for music videos for both tracks, but shortly after filming Elizabeth, our original drummer decided it was time he stepped down. Lyrically it is about my relationship with my then girlfriend, now wife. Elisabeth is one of her middle names.”
11. Glass Heart:
“Drew and I had the idea for the final track on the album. We wanted something with crushing guitar riffs that lead all the way to an astonishingly epic outro (we have a few on this album, if you haven’t noticed). We took it in turns at Drew’s house passing the guitar back and forth until we came up with riffs and idea we were happy with. Showing the skeleton of a song to the rest of the band, we knew it was it.
These are the most personal lyrics on the album for me. Dealing with rumours, hearsay and just how all of the negative things you can hear about yourself can build and manifest inside you. Until you just want to shut off from the outside world. This song is about the birth of my Glass Heart. Strong enough most of the time, but if the right sticks, stones and words are thrown, I know how fragile we can all become. Be kind to people, we are all, always going through things we might not broadcast to the world. Check in on your friends and family. And never be too proud to ask for help. If “I am not alone”, you aren’t either.”
‘Glass Heart’ is out this Friday, March 1st. Get keen!