Early 2000’s post-hardcore is among the most memorable times in heavy music, and has had a number of formidable acts from those days that continue to keep that aura going healthily strong. To this day, Long Island’s Glassjaw have been continuing the name by performing hundreds upon hundreds of shows since 2002’s “Worship and Tribute”, which remains as one of the most commemorative releases of the early decade in post-hardcore and underground music. Fifteen years on from that , the New Yorkian quartet came out of nowhere and have blessed us all with their third full-length release “Material Control” – a record that has proven to show that Glassjaw still manage to set the standard amongst many bands within their genre that don’t quite keep their promises.
As Glassjaw reminisce the powerful, jawbreaking introductions from earlier album openers such as Pretty Lush and Tip Your Bartender in the face-melting New White Extremity, the track blares strong, dynamic tension in a very, orderly fashion. From there, the madness and complexity of “Material Control” moves throughout the rest of the record. To be able to hear Daryl Palumbo’s vocals stay overwhelmingly sharp and untouched since “Worship and Tribute” is a bigger deal than one could make it out to be. The man’s voice still lingers in a nostalgic and anthemic drive, and goddamn, he really bludgeons the LP with a fiery and highly-orchestrated method.
Progressing, Shira and 11 Days, 11 Nights showcase a very old school “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence”-era inspired motion that Glassjaw were renowned for, along with Golgotha portraying very meaty, grunge-inspired riffs and basslines that also take off a pre-studio album style that displayed a more audibly aggressive manner of the band. While Pretty Hell tones it down with enticingly haunting dissonance that’s carried by Justin Beck’s work on the guitar, Bastille Day also comes with that exact nature with tribal-influenced percussions and instruments, along with some evocatively, unsettling orchestral strings and feedback. However, once Pompeii and Bibleland 6 kick in, Glassjaw let the feedback sit for a while, before bursting out the dropped tuning distortion back into the game, and postures the spotlight into a truculent mid-tempo pattern that accents a claustrophobic ring to the two tracks.
Closer comes as a very distraught, fast-paced piece that gets only more and more antagonistic and robust, as Glassjaw continue to break barriers with a myriad of ferocious fretwork and an abundance of heavy punches on the drums. My Conscience Weighs a Ton’s sludge-driven bass gives off a highly alternative vibe, but also continues in a splatter of grunge and alternative music, before going into the minute and a half instrumental title-track Material Control, which caters a simplistic drum beat, while executing very digitalised rings to the guitars. Immediately after the title track, Cut and Run bases itself as the two-minute long, epic conclusion to “Material Control” and justifies its position as the closer with metalised riffs in the depiction of an old-school hardcore and 90s punk routine.
Glassjaw are fully cognisant that they can’t satisfy everyone’s tastebuds. But, even so, they would still find a way to pack a wallop of pizazz for every listener. And that’s what makes “Material Control” such an articulate composition. The detrimental and abrasive attitude still remains in a somewhat experimental persona, but it helps give the LP a character of its own, feeling much like an original Glassjaw product. To keep a signature sound and identity stay in its place throughout a record is one of the key components that makes an album good. And after all these years, Glassjaw have managed to keep abreast of maintaining a sonic fingerprint in each album’s locale, high and low. No matter how far apart they are between albums, “Material Control” is further evidence of Glassjaw’s strenuous musicianship.