The 1990s was synonymous with Grunge and for the first time the alternative had become the new mainstream. What many people tend to overlook is that the 90s were also a breeding ground for metal and punk, offering a prototype of what would eventually become the norm in contemporary alternative trends.
Enter Glassjaw who have just released their first album in 15 years – the four-piece can easily lay claim to being pioneers of post-hardcore and setting the foundations to what would be a strong scene in the early 2000s.
Glassjaw released their debut album Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Silence in 2000. The album was a completely refreshing take on heavier genres and featured melodic yet disjointed vocals, dissonant guitar riffs and crushing breakdowns. Overall, their aesthetic was chaotic yet completely original.
The concepts and lyrical themes on the album were abstract at the time in comparison of other alternative and aggressive genres – these themes were contemporary and almost pop-like; describing melancholic scenarios. However, following on from the slow-burning rise of Emo, these concepts were real, less manufactured and relatable.
To complement the chaotic themes, their live shows were examples of frantic yet passionate expression, their music was believable and convincing – which takes a lot when forerunning a genre such as theirs.
Yet Glassjaw were not the first to attempt approaching this environment; contemporaries such as At the Drive-In offered a chaotic and frantic performance.
Artists such as Cro-Mags bleed through into Glassjaw’s performances, making albums such as Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Silence still relevant 17 years after its release.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Silence paved the way for artists such as Alexisonfire; another forerunner in post-hardcore to break through and solidify the genre. Other artists such as the late Letlive have even reinterpreted not only their sound but their stage presence and expanded upon it, offering just as hectic performances.
Many of the concepts that Glassjaw provide in their debut are used to this very day in more contemporary settings. The fusion of melodic components with the fury of metal allowed for cross-genre styles and influences. We can hear many of Glassjaw’s staple components in upcoming bands such as Renounced, a 5 piece British metalcore band. The tracks can be described as a chaotic war zone and we can hear this kind of scenario within contemporaries such as Rolo Tomassi and Dillinger Escape Plan.
Glassjaw have released their third and latest album titled Material Control, the highly anticipated album has been alluded to since 2008; when the four-piece reunited after their six-year hiatus subsequently after their sophomore release Worship and Tribute – which was a more experimental venture featuring cross-genre adaptation.
They have previously teased the album through released such as Coloring Book which was released in 2011 and was essentially being coined as a preview of today's release.
The first taste we got of the album was back in 2015 with the song ‘New White Extremity’. The track featured a throwback to their original and frantic sound with an essence of Nu-Metal in vain of Slipknot with some of their oversaturated guitar layering creating a whirling vortex of sound.
The second single to be released in the run-up to the album release was 'Shira', which follows on well from 'New White Extremity' and showcases their more melodic elements, whilst staying true to their chaotic and dysfunctional sounds. Out of the two singles released, this track is the closest to their debut back in 2000.
Material Control is an impressive return for the Post-Hardcore giants and many people will be excited to hear the highly anticipated album.