Long Island heroes Glassjaw start us off with Material Control, their first album of new music in fifteen years. Rather than picking up where they left off, the band (by now reduced for all practical purposes to vocalist Daryl Palumbo and guitarist Justin Beck) double down on dense slabs of percussive spite. This music has so much spite and spleen, so much energy, and so much delicious bass tone, that it's hard to believe that these guys last released a studio album ten months after 9/11. (Maybe they're like a post-hardcore Room Of Requirement.) The worst things I can say about Material Control are that Palumbo's voice, while ever-so-slightly mellowed, is still an acquired taste, that the album runs a bit long (no mean feat for a 36-minute release), and that a portion of the music therein is barely metal. Those would be the weaknesses that any of Glassjaw's adversaries would need to exploit.
Unfortunately for The Contortionist, "overlong" and "unmetal" are just part and parcel of their typically languid style of progressive metal. If anything, Clairvoyant represents a deeper commitment to the band's uncompromising acceptance and interweaving of various modes of musicality. Make no mistake: this album is the best thing that the band have yet released, and there's so much gorgeous music here to admire and remember.
All of which is to say: Glassjaw just kicked The Contortionist's teeth in.
Join us tomorrow, and we'll listen to Decapitated and Elder.