Even though Soul Glo is no freshman in the hardcore punk scene with first output dating 2014, it seems like their latest effort, "Diaspora Problems", is the first big culmination point in the band's career. Six years in the making, this album right here is where they let go of all the breaks with their grandest, longest, and most aggressive compositions to date. What's (unfortunately) the biggest selling point of the record is its yet remaining relevance. Throughout those six last years, the world has turned from bad to worse and no signs are pointing to a brighter future ahead. This makes the oppressive anger of "Diaspora Problems" much more impactful.
It's been a long time since we could hear a band playing this no-bullshit in the very first moments of this album - "Gold Chain Punk". It's one of the many tracks here that have an incredible anthemic feel to them. In the case of the opener, it's an anthem about getting your shit together and finally taking an opportunity to fight for yourself. A song starts with bright guitar leads and a refrain of "CAN I LIVE?" just to turn into a true aggressive punk song with deep and thumpy guitar tones. The contrast between the two realities (or rather two worldviews: one passive and dependant on the system and one active and truly liberating) perfectly represents why we need punk music today. Too many people have gone into their comfort zones ignoring the obvious problems in the system. Some may live like that, but some are desperately destined to fight for their existence in the current world. This desperation is displayed in the last leg of the song, where Pierce Jordan strains his voice to terrifying extents. The song gets so heavy and crushing that may cause ear fatigue for someone who is not used to these levels of volume, yet here we are just 3 minutes into "Diaspora Problems" and Soul Glo has just started the engine and is about to switch gears on next tracks.
Believe me, if you heard that this band goes hard, I can assure you this band goes HARD. There is not a single breather in the tracklist here and the energy level of these songs makes you sweat while listening. I may even take an issue with that because as in the first half we have catchy standouts like "Thumbsucker", the second half is so crushing, not only instrumentally, but emotionally as well with one of my personal favorites on the album "(Five Years And) My Family" the feelings of unease start to kick in, however, it's a minor issue, especially given that the most important commentaries are delivered near the finish of the album. There are other amazing highlights on the way though like stellar "Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((by the future))" which still stands as one of my favorite songs of the year. The track's lead melody is instantly memorable and the performance Pierce brings to the table on this one is so insane, that when I first heard this song back in January I couldn't get enough of it. It has been a really long time since I heard someone so genuinely angry and hungry for justice. Lyrics touch on the topics of the future or rather a loss of it caused by the negligence of social issues in everyday life. We lose time hoping for change yet we are unable to enact that change ourselves. The next track on the album, "Driponomics" addresses this problem from a different angle. I'm loving the concept of this track, which on the surface is a trap metal cut about hustling your way through the tough economic system (a slick verse from Mother Mayrose on the track as well), but behind the street imagery, there is a great and refreshing concept of using capitalism against it (the commercialized drip culture and regaining its cultural core by working outside the system's boundaries). "(Five Years And) My Family" is an introspective moment on the album where the band's frontman touches on his childhood, the family troubles, and his problems with mental health. "We Wants Revenge" serves as a reminder to every "anti-system" person what a true anti-systemic position is like. One of the biggest highlights has to be the final track - "Spiritual Level of Gang Shit". It's a great combination of jazz rap and hardcore punk (yes, you heard it right folks) and it somehow sounds absolutely vicious and amazing. Great features from Iojii and McKinley Dixon on the smooth instrumental which then blossoms in the probably most anthemic moment of the entire record. Truly a wonderful musical send-off, but in the end, it's not the music itself that is important about Soul Glo at this moment. It's their unapologetic energy and willingness to fight.
Punk music has always been the music of the rebellion. Somehow though even if the world didn't turn out much brighter after the 80s (only more comfortable), punk music (or its more political side) has been proclaimed dead. Of course, other genres still did take part in political discourse in some ways (hip hop never lost its bite and Soul Glo perfectly knows it incorporating elements of the most aggressive subgenres of rap) and we still had our emo pop punk phase am I right haha? Anyway, the pure anger fueled by the horrible world seemed to wear off for a long time. Even though Soul Glo is still an underground act, I think it has the energy and the messaging to shake the dust off our weapons and torches. The biggest win of "Diaspora Problems" is that it convinces me to fight for a better world and go on streets and go brutal. I have a lot to fight for in my home country and I'll gladly destroy everything in my path to get to a better place for others, but we shouldn't let the diaspora overtake us. United we are strong. It's the greatest thing I got out of this listen and even though I knew it beforehand, the idea of unity has never burned stronger in my heart. Thanks to Soul Glo.
There are many amazing political levels to the content of this album, that I could peel off for another 2000 words, but what's the best about this album is in plain sight. Even if you won't listen to "Diaspora Problems" right now, you'll probably catch up in the next few years. This album has the potential to single-handedly revive hardcore punk and most importantly revive us as people to finally take action. Now excuse me, I'm getting on the streets with a loudspeaker a torch and I'm going to spread some spiritual levels of gang shit.
favs: every song on here.