If you’re not familiar with Soul Glo’s approach to hardcore, I think a solid descriptor if not understated one is that they are pure, unbridled energy. Imagine the fastest roller coaster you’ve ever been on, with the deepest hill plunges, crazy loops and twists, and randomly going in reverse half way through. Now imagine that same roller coaster without any time during the ride for the car to slow down, the brakes have failed, and you’re barely buckled in. That’s what Soul Glo feels like. One can find an experience like this kind of exhausting, and I was worried that would be the case on this newest album, as “Diaspora Problems” is their longest project to date and twice as long as any of their output from the last three years. However, the quartet manages to never feel boring, and despite being their longest project yet, “Diaspora Problems” might be their tightest listen to date. I’d say Soul Glo manages to do this mainly through two ways - a) having a solid understanding of song structure and dynamics, and b) just being filled to the brim with exciting ideas. Obviously the band had a good ear for explosive drum patterns and ripping guitar chords that fire off on all cylinders, but they know when to switch it up with a new idea, whether that be a new riff, a tempo change, bringing in a horn section, going into a more restrained and groovy vibe, incorporating elements of industrial hip-hop, having a trap inspired breakdown, hell, even going into full blown death metal territory. Soul Glo gets a lot of praise for their fiery energy, and they deserve it, that energy would be a lot less remarkable if it weren’t for the fact that they also have great musical ideas.
One of the defining features of Soul Glo is their vocals, handled mainly by Pierce Jordan with the occasional assist from bassist GG. It can not be understated how fucking nuts the vocals are on this project. First of all, it constantly sounds like Pierce is yelling at the top of his lungs, producing sounds that don’t even sound like a human is capable of making. On top of that however, Jordan also likes to rap and spit out a lot of words very fast. So you have these insane, fast talking, screaming rants that just sound absolutely mad and I couldn’t imagine someone being able to pull them off once, let alone for a whole album (and I have no idea how this is done for an entire concert). I’m sure many listeners will be turned off by the vocals on “Diaspora Problems”, but I love how much energy, anger, and intensity the vocals have speaking. Speaking of anger and intensity, Soul Glo’s lyrics have always focused on the issues that black Americans and lower class individuals face and how every part of the system has failed them time and time again. Here on “Diaspora Problems”, Soul Glo continues to call for action, but they also address the fact that many who say they’re ready to listen haven’t done anything meaningful to help. There’s this sense of frustration throughout the record, not just at the fact that there are people in power actively trying to make your life worse for their own gain but also that even the people who say that they want to help often don’t, sometimes they make it worse. It seems like a common theme of this album is realizing your own strength and that if the state refuses to help the people then the people will have to take the power back themselves. Considering the state of the world, I feel like this is another example of Soul Glo tapping into the moment and recognizing what many people today are currently feeling.
Soul Glo have always been in a lane of their own when it came to hardcore music, and with “Diaspora Problems” they made what will go down as the definitive hardcore album of the year, maybe even the decade. And for good reason - considering how turbulent the 2020’s have been so far, what better album to meet the moment than a record this insane, brutal, explosive, and physical that doesn’t let go until the very end. There’s so much unrestrained energy through and everything from the songwriting, to the riffs, to the pummeling drums, to the insane vocals, to the crazy musical innovation, to the way it calls for action, and everything in between is so insane in the best way possible. This is the most exciting punk album I’ve heard in a while and it proves that if any band should be the face of modern punk that’ll lead it into the future, it should be Soul Glo. At the beginning of “Diaspora Problems”, Pierce Jordan screams out “who gonna beat my ass”; Soul Glo lets us know that the answer to the question is “no one” and then beats your ass in the process.
Hey everyone! Thanks for reading! If you have a little time, I wanted to quickly address a few things.
First thing’s first, thank you all for 900 followers! It’s crazy that my fun little hobby that I did to pass the time and be creative has become something that people are interested in. I’m glad that I’ve been able to connect with so many people about my biggest passion and I’m thankful that you have all stuck by even as my output has changed in style and in frequency. Speaking of which:
I’m sure some of you have noticed how less frequent I’ve been writing full length reviews. I started writing full reviews almost daily and now it’s basically gone down to one or two a week, maybe not even that. This isn’t due to lack of listening, I’m always listening to new stuff almost daily so you won’t have to worry about my year end lists, but due to a few key factors.
A) my writing has become a lot lengthier and in depth. I think that makes the reviews more interesting and have more to say and because of this it has become more evergreen, but that means it takes a lot more time to write and it takes a lot more time to get the energy back to write something else
B) work. Not only do I need to pay for basic needs, but I’m about to start hormone replacement therapy VERY SOON and I’m paying for my meds out of pocket. Therefore, I need to work more, more work means less time to write
C) my own music. I’m a songwriter and producer. I want to make it something I can do professionally as a full time gig instead of something I do on the side, and with so much of my time being spent on work, I don’t have to divide the little time I have between writing reviews and my music.
This is not me saying I’m reviewing even less or not at all, it’s really just me feeling like I need to explain why it’s been so infrequent.
I’ve set a schedule for reviews I’m planning to do on my page and I’m going to try to stick to that, but it’s not set in stone. You guys have been very understanding and I’m sorry I’ve been less active, I hope this clears things up for why it’s been like this. Again, thank you all for the support, it truly is a blessing and I’m so grateful, I can’t believe we’ve gotten to 900. I hope to see you all with more reviews very soon.