Wish I had a cool Glassjaw discovery story. Or that I even remembered how it happened.
If memory serves (which, if this is not a memory of an event that actually happened, it is something I am making up right now), I believe the first Glassjaw song that I listened to was “Stuck Pig,” a fierce and heavy track full of grit and teeth. I think it was on a compilation release, maybe? However it transpired, I was hooked.
Little did I know the cult following that trails this band. From what I’ve gathered, their fanbase is as rabid as that of Brand New’s. Maybe it has to do with their liberal usage of Helvetica? Let’s go with that.
Worship and Tribute is the band’s classic 2002 album. Unfortunate for many though, it is their most recent full-length. The tl;dr version of the story goes something to this effect: lead vocalist Daryl Palumbo, the only member of the group still left from its inception in the early 90s, has Crohn’s disease and a penchant for making other types of music. Band members have come and gone, his illness has forced the band to cancel countless shows and tours, and his other band, Head Automatica, received more commercial airplay than Glassjaw could ever hope to.
All of these factors are tremendously disappointing, because Worship and Tribute is a white whale. Which isn’t anything to slouch at, considering the period in which it was released also saw a slew of other seminal post-hardcore releases. That 2000-early 2005 era was the Golden Age for the genre, and no period since then has even come close.
Comprised of 11 songs and a throwaway hidden track (which comes at the end of “Two Tabs of Mescaline,” the album’s closer), Worship was an album released at the perfect time: the apex of the genre. Alongside bands like Thursday, Poison the Well, Every Time I Die and others, hardcore and post-hardcore rode a surging wave of popularity, leaving behind a trail of destruction in their wake.
I’m still trying to figure out what the reason for this wave may have been. The Internet? The downfall of magazines? Warped Tour (not a joke)? Hellfest? A hunger for abrasion after Y2K? 9/11?
M.O. aside, the fact is that Worship rose above its predecessors, catapulted the group to sold-out headlining shows when Daryl was healthy enough for it, and cemented Glassjaw as a legendary northeast-based band. Its merits and influence cannot be understated.
For me, Worship is an album that I can only stomach so much of at a time (not a Crohn’s joke, sorry). Not because it doesn’t have lasting replay value – it does – but rather, it’s heavy in both the literal sense and the description of its musicality. Themes include drug and alcohol use and abuse and religious malcontent. It’s by no means an easy to digest in one sitting record, but for the record, its bass and guitar tones, and fuzzy noise rock and thrash elements are reasons alone to come back.
From Worship and Tribute, this is “Cosmopolitan Bloodloss” –
Standout tracks: “Tip Your Bartender,” “Mu Empire,” and “The Gillette Cavalcade of Sports”
Weakest track: Never much cared for “Two Tabs of Mescaline”
RIYL: Hardcore, post-hardcore, fuzz noise. United Nations, Poison the Well, Every Time I Die.