I will never forget starting college and being incredibly mad one day after a class. I can’t remember why, but I was fuming. I knew that my usual dose of Slayer or Pantera would not be enough to release the tension I had built up over the course of the day and consulted the local metalhead down the hall in the dorms. He gave me Glassjaw’s Worship and Tribute. Within the first 10 seconds of listening, I began to feel better.
Glassjaw sonically has the sort of temperature and aggression that is both bone-chilling and artistic. When they formed in 1993 they were coming out in a transitional music scene. Grunge was on the way out, and pop punk and rap metal were not far from taking over.
For fans of heavy music, Glassjaw was a scream of fresh air. Their groove-based hardcore had such a deep and heavy chunkiness to it that they were virtually unmatched in aggression and energy. With two original members and a slew of past members, their persona is strangely unadvertised and enigmatic. And it has worked.
Over the next 6 years, Glassjaw would write their first album, Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence, which received little attention from their label, the metal giant Roadrunner Records. Two years later they would record Worship and Tribute. This album would bring hardcore and metal to a new standard. The character, aggression, and pain put forth by singer Daryl Palumbo was unmatched by any other frontman. Glassjaw’s shows would prove the same.
Glassjaw would tour on Worship and Tribute for two years before taking a hiatus. Due to his ongoing battle with Crohn’s Disease, Palumbo would have difficulty maintaining a steady touring schedule. With no activity from 2003-2008, Glassjaw finally remerged for the occasional show or short tour. The only promotion they ever do for an event will be a simple posting, usually on one form of media. Looking through their Facebook status updates, you will see things like “show” and a link or sometimes just numbers, which are the dates of a show, leaving fans to figure it out for themselves.
In 2011 Glassjaw released two EPs, Our Color Green and Coloring Book. Leading up to their release, the band without any promotion changed their website’s homepage to a video of them playing the song “All Good Junkies Go To Heaven” from the Coloring Book EP. Both EPs pleased fans and created quite a stir. The band toured in support of the releases and have since not said a word.
Recently a flier went up on the Echo’s website with just the date, the word “Glassjaw,” and the word “Echoplex.” There is nothing on Glassjaw’s website or their Facebook page, but rest assured that this show will sell out in minutes. Their devoted fans check regularly for just such an update and will show up in droves. Glassjaw has created a name that is so commanding and mysterious that all they need to do is put up a date for a show with no promotion and it will sell out immediately.
Glassjaw is not for everyone. Their music kind of hurts to listen to. I’ve probably been close to getting into several car accidents just from playing it while driving. They really do have that kind of effect. The music is heavy, brutal, emotional, and unforgettable. If you don’t know Glassjaw, check them out at the Echoplex in July.
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