Shattered

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So here’s what we know: The members of Glassjaw are young. Very young. They’re on Roadunner (which equals insta-cred in the aggro world), and they feature an incredibly gifted, ambidextrous drummer, Sammy Siegler (of Gorilla Biscuits and CIV fame). Even though they don’t look like an aggro band, they very much are – at least on paper. On their debut, Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Silence, this Long Island quintet pummels in a way that would have made the Bad Brains and Quicksand proud. Simple so far? Well, not exactly.

Here’s the curveball: On Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Silence, Glassjaw pairs up with producer-entrepreneur Ross Robinson (an essential figure to the reinvention of today’s new aggro metal sound). Rooted in the New York hardcore aesthetic, but not in traditional hardcore per se, Glassjaw is the new breed, a band that pays homage to the traditional chant-response of NYCHC without the chants and without the shout-outs. If you think that makes little sense, so does Glassjaw’s nonlinear music. Along with Robinson’s unorthodox production, Glassjaw’s tunes put Daryl Palumbo’s somewhat atonal voice at the forefront of the mix. His intense delivery wraps around the music, giving it an edge that one wouldn’t otherwise expect.

Intensely dense, Glassjaw succeeds on many levels. With Palumbo’s ability to completely and unequivocally assault the senses with his voice, the subversive riffs of guitarists Beck and Todd Weinstock take songs like "Pretty Lush" and "When One Eight Becomes Two Zeros" to incredible places. With few choruses to speak of, the band literally piledrives the menacing material into the ground. Much like the Deftones (with whom it’ll be touring this summer), Glassjaw changes gears when you least expect it.

Everything is almost guaranteed underground success in Europe (where people tend to be more open toward these kinds of indefinable records). American acceptance is a crapshoot. Nonetheless, this is an excellent debut, and hopefully one that bodes well for a new development in today’s aggro scene.

John Franck writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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