ON GLASSJAW’S EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANT TO KNOW ABOUT SILENCE
[After we completed our much ballyhooed 21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century… So Far countdown last month, we invited all of the inhabitants of the MS Mansion to submit an “Albums We Wish Made the List” piece. Former Roadrunner Records A&R guru Mike Gitter, who was a member of the voting panel that constructed the list, asked us if he could submit an album he wished made the list as well, and we’ve posted his writeup below. Whether taken as part of our “21 Best” list or on its own as a regular editorial piece, it’s a great look into a great album. Enjoy. -Ed.]
Boys will be boys…and boys get fucked over. And they hate girls. And instead of acting like a buncha homos, ‘writing love on their arms’ or any of those slogans you seen them pussies flagging t-shirts for at Bamboozle, Glassjaw laid down the bitchslap in-extremis. Everything You Ever Want To Know About Silence is a friggin’ landmark. A record that broke with their local Long Island hardcore tradition – counting lurvely lads from the likes of Silent Majority and that little know Jew Crew Sons of Abraham – and staked out some entirely new sonic turf. Think Bad Brains rapturous riff-o-rama, V.O.D.’s blazing intensity and a razor sharp lyrical sense from not-so-sucka MC Darryl Palumbo, now of dance-rockers Head Automatica.
When ETYEWTKAS hit in 2000 it set forth a tidal-wave of boys who wanted to talk about their feelings. Oh please. Granted some pretty decent brine washed out in the wake: The Used, etc…Glassjaw, like Faith No More before them, are also responsible for giving the world some of the worst music you probably ever wanted to hear. They also bore the curse of being criminally ahead of their time. Sure, there’s a zillion nausea-inducing, brightly colored T-shirts on the wall at the local Hot Topic that might as well have “Generation Screamo” plastered on the back. Glassjaw bear the minimum-wage honor of making a brave noise without context. Alternative Press had some uninformed goob of a writer give the record the lowest marks possible and brand it as “rap rock”. I think he meant “rape rock” given the He-Man-Wimmen-Hater’s-Club verve going on here. Thankfully, he was tossed in the mag’s dungeon of delights for a weekend with Rob Halford and a boom-box blasting The Mentor’s “Up The Dose”.
OK, so no biggie that Ross Robinson made Vanilla Ice and Tura Satana records prior to this. A couple of belches, burps and hocking of loogies on opener “Pretty Lush” and you know there’s niceties within. Current T-shirt magnate Justin Beck lays it on with switcheroo Dr. Know via Johnny Marr via Kevin Shields via Vinnie Stigma craftiness. By the time you get to the first chorus of bad-girl-done-me-wrong missive “Love Bites and Razorlines,” you know that Palumbo has it in him to be the voice of a frustrated generation. Kinda like Morrisey but straight and somehow able to tell the ho’s that he’s “too fly and shy” whilst asking them “Who ya fucking now?!?”
Calling Maury Povich to abused women’s shelter!
Incidentally, has anyone noticed how many young’uns pick lyrics and titles from this record for their Myspace handles? Did the swooping haircut scene miss the point so badly or are they every bit as culturally fucked, beaten and bruised as everything Darryl screams about here? Then again, look at those fucking Draven shoe ads where the ladies look like “wild-ing” victims so guys from shitty bands can swipe their slip-ons.
Did I mention that Robinson grabbed a shit-hot drummer from the local Jewish Community Center? Sammy Siegler, Youth Crew emeritus (Youth of Today Side By Side, Judge….) is equally at home being jazzy and minimalist on “Her Middle Name Was Boom” as he is beating the shit out of the double pedal on “Pushing and Shoving (She Should Have Let Me Sleep)”. Whilst Siegler’s tenure here was as a session guy, his playing is completely underrated. Quick Nu-Metal fun-fact. Ross had Sammy provide the funky-fresh beats on Limp Bizkit’s then-swansong The Unquestionable Truth Vol. 1.
EYEWTAS closes with two songs that sum up everything that has come before. The title track is as affecting and at points beautific as anything on the record as Palumbo tells tale of his hospital confinement for his long-running battle with Crohns disease, ending with the simple statement: “This is what it’s like to be alone.” Of course, he couldn’t leave it at that, tearfully blurting out “Sexual debauchery, you fucking cunt!” at the close of “Motel of The White Locust.” That kinda bi-polar wisdom sums up why this record still resonates so damn hard. Sure, Glassjaw did follow this up with the much more sedate “Worship and Tribute” with a promised follow-up now approaching Chinese Democracy levels of anticipation, but ETEWTKAS remains their true towering inferno of uneasy listening.