Glassjaw are a band that have floated in and out of existence since the late 90s, always interesting and willing to push the boundaries of whatever version of hardcore you want to call their output.
Material Control starts out with ‘New White Extremity’, a song released as a one off in 2015, causing a stir that an album may be on the way. Kicking off as you would expect this band to if you have ever followed them, a clean and crisp production with a guitar tone all their own before vocalist Daryl Palumbo’s clean recognisable wail cuts through the surrounding musical chaos.
Follow up ‘Shira’ is just as aggressive as it surges back and forth like something the Deftones should have written. From just these opening tracks it is obvious that Glassjaw has set out to make their presence known again, after all 15 years between LPs is quite the distance for anyone.
Glassjaw ooze aggression, only ever slightly moving away from the throttle in small doses, allowing the music to breathe. The exception to this rule being the overall calm of ‘Strange Hours’ and its follow up instrumental ‘Bastille Day’ in the middle of the album with a thudding bass line the only thing stopping it from being so restful that you could have a quick nap.
After this the band take off again into some of the most aggressive material they have ever written with ‘Closer’ towards the end the nearest I recall to flat out hardcore whilst remaining uniquely Glassjaw.
The biggest gripe is the mix, as Daryl Palumbo’s vocal are either buried so deep it’s difficult to hear what he is singing about, or too far to the front, taking the focus from the chaos that is constantly swirling around him.
Sometimes, good things do come to those who wait. As a fan I waited with bated breath to see what they would come up with , and Material Control has been worth the overly long wait.
1. New White Extremity
5. Strange Hours
6. Bastille Day
8. Bibleland 6
10. My Conscience Weighs a Ton
11. Material Control
12. Cut and Run