Album Review: Glassjaw – Material Control

By Eli Schoop, Copy Editor
[Globochem; 2017]
Rating: 6/10

Key Tracks: “New White Extremity”, “Shira”, “Citizen”

The 2010’s have been the decade of the reboot. Whether it’s veering towards comics and the constant adaptations of Spiderman, Batman, or the X-Men, or the reappearance of such giants as My Bloody Valentine, Wu-Tang Clan, and Sleater-Kinney, the cultural landscape has been bombarded time and time again by resculpted nostalgia looking for a new relevance. Glassjaw, while not as directly canonized as other acts, place Material Control smack dab in this category of media. They’ve never struggled to produce solid and heavy post-hardcore, yet this new output finds Daryl Palumbo and co. bereft of an audacity and creative infusion that was so readily present in Worship and Tribute or Our Color Green.

An itch that Material Control can’t scratch is the lack of the band’s classic hooks that have been their signature ever since the mid-90’s. The music is brutal and aggressive, yes, but Justin Beck’s delivery belies Palumbo’s vocal prowess when it’s go go go, all the time. Songs like “Cosmopolitan Bloodloss” and “Ape Dos Mil”, which were a clever change of pace in amongst all the chaos, have been mostly disregarded besides the more banal interludes. While the band is very good at what they do (tight, down-tuned and distorted guitars interspliced with Palumbo’s melodic albeit pulse-pounding vocals), on Material Control, their diversity in songwriting isn’t displayed in the same way that it was during their mid-2000s heyday, comfortably distancing themselves from the rest of the post-hardcore pack.

Despite these flaws, if one is looking for another scintillating experience in the pit, look no further than these Long Island boys. The sheer and power magnitude of the riffs combined with an attention to detail in the mixing aisle creates a powerful combination fitting for such a long-awaited return. It’s unfortunate that the past glories Glassjaw manifested throughout their career aren’t always present, but there’s no doubt fans will find comfort in the ruthlessness the band has always operated on.

Listen here:

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