To say Hellions had set some pretty high expectations for themselves with Opera Oblivia would …
15 years is a long time in any genre, let alone the subculture of chaotic US hardcore, to without releasing new material. A genre that prides itself on intensity and fury, the likes of The Fall Of Troy, Circa Survive & Dillinger Escape Plan are just a few pioneers who have kept up both the noise and output for the better part of two decades, releasing countless LP’s and EP’s in a constant output of creative material.
It therefore beggar’s belief that New York mainstays Glassjaw could sit on the bench for a majority of the 21st century, happily taking the occasional tour, before returning to the studio and emerging with the monster that is their latest LP Material Control.
In a similar resurgence to that of their more shoegazey contemporaries My Bloody Valentine, despite taking nearly 2 decades to cut a new LP, there is no sense of overcooking or creative stagnation across the board on Material Control. Opening combo new white extremity and single release shia reintroduce listeners to the fuzzy bass tones, pounding drums and wah-effects that captivated so many fans; a guaranteed trip down memory lane for old timers and a new and exciting edition for the alternative-loving youth of today.
Glassjaw don’t fall for the fads of the modern internet greats, but rather opt for the path less travelled, producing an album that is both inaccessible but terrifyingly powerful and addictive
Material Control doesn’t touch on any new sounds per say, but rather facilitates the bands mastery of the chaotic, the grim and the uncomfortable. pompeii takes the listener into a melting pot of guitar squeals, static and screams in a pure assault of sound, while golgotha allows drummer Billy Rymer (of Dillinger Escape Plan cred) and guitarist/creative driver Justin Beck to explore avant-garde rhythms and effects to create a wall of noise both horrific yet captivating.
The world has changed dramatically since we last heard from Glassjaw. Social media now rules the social landscape, with the screen and the celebrity offering themselves as more fulfilling means of entertainment than ever before. This obsession with materialism and individual wealth feels like a chip off the Glassjaw shoulder on Material Control, with cuts closer and my conscience weighs a tonne not trying to be better than their contemporaries, but rather telling the listener to shut up and pay attention to non-material world around them. Constantly shifting between the haunting melodies of Deftones, the out-of-box creativity of Mike Patton and fury of Rage Against The Machine, Glassjaw don’t fall for the fads of the modern internet greats, but rather opt for the path less travelled, producing an album that is both inaccessible but terrifyingly powerful and addictive.
The members of the band themselves may be older than most in their world, but they sure as hell prove on Material Control that they know more than a thing or two about creating great art in the modern age. When ‘standing out’ is the priority for most bands, Glassjaw use Material Control to shun any sense of the title’s concept, instead releasing the pressure gauge on both their creativity and anger to create an artistic monolith.
STANDOUT TRACKS: citizen, golgothaa, closer
STICK THIS NEXT TO: Defeater, At The Drive In, Deftones