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13th December 2017

Album Review: Glassjaw – Material Control

Glassjaw come back with their first album in 15 years, but was it worth the wait?

Admittedly, I have never been a huge fan of Glassjaw. Despite being a fan of Post-Hardcore, as a whole, I never really listened to them. I only listened to Worship & Tribute when Material Control was announced.

However, this did present a unique opportunity for me to go in with no expectations which come loaded with many comeback albums. So with lower expectations but still an appreciation of the genre I went into Material Control with a blank slate and an open mindset.

So what did I think of it? From the offset ‘New White Extremity’ begins the album with an explosive start. The visceral and noisy track sets the bar quite high from the offset. Sharp guitars overlap the heavy bass and chaotic drums creating a dizzy blast of energy. ‘Shira’ and ‘Citizen’ also continue this trend as well. Both tracks, while not as chaotic, pack the same punch and rage

The mixing and production here are so dense and thick which helps to give the album a punch. The guitars and sharp and piercing, while the bass drives the tracks forward over the chaotic drums. While crafting a good tone for the album at times it feels overpowering. Vocals and drums are often lost in the madness which is a shame as these performances are excellent.

While it may be the best part of the album, it feels starts to feel like a crutch by the end. All the tracks seem to blend into one. It may be an evolution of their sound but it just ends up a bit tired by the time it all finishes.

There are elements of Noise Rock and Alternative Metal on display but they don’t feel that revolutionary. It seems more like Glassjaw pretending to be a band like Deftones instead of craving something new for themselves. Though it is some progression I just there was a bit more thrown in.

The most variation is only shown in the interludes. ‘Bastille Day’ shows off some more interesting percussion, such as the use of tribal drums, and the title track does some. But since these are just relegated to the interludes it just seems as if Glassjaw are never truly willing to experiment a bit more.

There are worse ways to spend your time than listening to Material Control and compared to recent comeback albums from similar artists it fairs quite well. But new ideas start to wear thin with not much else backing them up it starts to blur into one. That being said, if you were wanting more Glassjaw then this probably will suffice for the time being.


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