It’s finally here. What was starting to be known as the post-hardcore Chinese Democracy. A decade and a half after the incredible Worship and Tribute, with a couple of EP’s thrown our way to tide us over; Glassjaw have finally delivered unto the masses their long awaited, long overdue third studio album Material Control.
Fans have had plenty of time to digest album opener 'New White Extremity' for nearly a year now, after its surprise release. Yet if it’s your first or your thousandth listen, it still hits you like a sledgehammer to the face. Follow up track 'Shira' features a chorus of 'Mu Empire' monolithic proportions, It’s virtually impossible to not belt it out at the top of your lungs.
'Strange Hours' sees Glassjaw at their most minimal/atmospheric on the record, throwing back to previous works like 'Must’ve Run All Day'. A welcome break before the gut punch of 'Bastille Day' kicks in. What’s really surprising about Material Control is how heavy it is. Not in the same sense of heavy a la Everything You Wanted to Know About Silence, where you’d expect more schizophrenic-like screaming escapades, but the songs themselves carry more weight than ever.
The musicianship displayed throughout Material Control is one of the strongest points of the album. Never before have Glassjaw sounded so tight, technical or focused to missile precision. Daryll’s vocal performances sound stronger than ever, with his singing parts soaring across the tracks. This is the strongest definition of what a band sounds like at peak performance.
Despite all the previous comparisons to their previous material, this is as far away from a rehash of previous ideas as you could imagine. Yes there is a sense of familiarity in parts, but to put it mildly: you’ve never heard it like this before. In short, Material Control is some of Glassjaw’s finest work to date, further cementing their place in the history books as one of the best bands of their genre to do it in the first place. Material Control shows that Glassjaw are quite simply untouchable. Do not be surprised to find this at the top of your album of the year list.