Its been a long time since we’ve had a GLASSJAW record to look forward to. A full fifteen years have passed since their stunning Worship and Tribute sophomore album was released, and a lot has happened in that time, both with the band and in music in general. This was an album that many people have been eager to hear since they released New White Extremity as a single a year to the day before the album was finally released.
Starting with that single, the album starts off as you would expect, with the band throwing all kind of noise at your right from the off. This kind of left field commotion has always been a staple of the band, and its great to hear it again, but on this track they gradually reign it in so it eventually becomes quite melodic towards the end. Shira follows and has a similar pattern, although this times it’s frontman Darryl Palumbo’s amazing voice that adds the melody to the chaos going on behind him. Citizen and Golgotha add a bit of frenetic action into the mix before the album calms down a little with the brief respite of Strange Hours and the percussive instrumental Bastille Day.
When the chaos returns in Pompeii, it harks back to the more frantic sounds of the early tracks on the record, but it’s also here that the focus is lost somewhat. As good as the likes of Closer and My Conscience Weighs A Ton are as individual tracks, by this point the album is getting a little bit repetitive. Another instrumental, this time the title track, seems a little out of place and leaves the last track Cut & Run feeling more like a bonus track instead of a legitimate album closer. This gives the end of Material Control a little bit of a disjointed feel, which is a shame after starting off so well.
Whilst Material Control has nothing particularly wrong about it, and indeed surpasses recent releases by many bands that have been influenced by GLASSJAW, it just sees like it’s missing something. It contains most of the influences that fans loved about them first time round, with healthy amounts of DEFTONES and THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN thrown in for good measure, but it loses some of that extra edge that the first couple of albums had. Perhaps it is because their two previous efforts are so good that Material Control finds it so difficult to live up to such a high standard, but it just falls short of that level of quality. It’s good, and whilst for many it will still be being listened to a few months down the line, the main thing is that it just lacks that mind-blowing factor that their early work had. Hopefully there will be more to follow, as GLASSJAW have so much to offer, and it would be great to hear them properly let loose again.
Material Control is out now digitally and is scheduled for physical release on December 22nd via Century Media Records.
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