Glassjaw – Material Control (Century Media) 2017
Glassjaw are a band decorated as underground saviours, an act which have paved the way for many upstarts in the post-hard-core bracket. Their influence is legendary, their music powerful. And we’ve been given a new full length to judge and to admire. Material Control is the new album, and it’s a colossal beast, a loud monster, full of whipping guitar strokes and shuddering vocals. The music has always been intense, it has always been louder than bombs. And with this new record prompting many post-hard-core fans fall into the cycle of hysteria, then we know that the genre has been revitalised.
Material Control is Glassjaw’s meaningful return. It’s an opus that manages to create atmosphere and tension, it collides with subtlety, dragging it down a dark path. There’s no denying the obscurity either, but there’s a sense of beauty to a record that should be ugly and insincere. And the band aren’t perfectionists, they’re risk takers, following no rules or trends.
Material Control is an assault on the ears too. But, it’s not static or drowned out. The vocals are still there to be heard, the lyrics dotted around, the energy ready to explode. From take-off, the albums bursts. Songs such as “Citizen” make the album ferociously complex. The vocals bite, the drums matter, and the fuzziness electrifies. Also, “Strange Hours” calms the record down, it releases the tension, and it explores different avenues. “Closer” builds the sound back up, it directs us back to fearless guitar riffs and emotive vocals.
Glassjaw deliver an obscure album. It won’t appeal to everyone, but we should be thankful to have such and esteemed band creating music again.