Soul Glo Reshape the Borders of Hardcore on 'Diaspora Problems'
Published Mar 28, 2022Listening to Soul Glo is a constant experience of confronting the past and present simultaneously. The Philadelphia quartet force audiences to think about privilege within hardcore music while also creating space for those whose voices the genre has long pushed to the sidelines. Diaspora Problems is Soul Glo's crowning achievement to date, combining hardcore with hip-hop, elements of extreme metal and heavy electronic music to create truly a unique listening experience.
From a musical standpoint, Diaspora Problems takes hardcore music and sprinkles in some wonderful oddities. The album opens with "Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass)," the heaviest Soul Glo song to date, including the most chaotic breakdowns ever written by the band.
The tracks that follow each put unique twists on Soul Glo's sound while keeping hardcore as their guiding principle. Whether its the horn sections on "Thumbsucker," the death metal-infused ending of "Fucked Up If True" or the major Death Grips energy on "Driponomics," Soul Glo are putting their own imprint on hardcore. This is perhaps never more apparently than on album closer "Spiritual Level of Gang Shit," which mashes up the excellent vocal flow of guests like McKinley Dixon and lojii with atonal blast beats and distortion, feeling like a culmination and celebration of everything that came before it on the album.
Vocalist Pierce Jordan delivers stellar performances across Diaspora Problems. This is a thematically dense record that tackles everything from the politics of hardcore to self-worth to generational trauma. The album is so densely packed with context that sitting down and pouring over the lyrics is strongly recommended. This is especially true of "Driponomics," featuring vivid lines like, "40 years of Reaganomics / The world in service and shit / Deliver food we spit in / Can't even cook for they kids."
Jordan contributes just as much musically as he does contextually, contrasting against his bandmates with interesting rhythms on "GODBLESSYALLREALGOOD" and "(Five Years And) My Family." Jordan has moments like this continually throughout the record, making the music even more dynamic and rewarding listeners who make continual revisits of the album.
Exploring so many sub-genres of hardcore while simultaneously telling many different stories, Diaspora Problems vaults Soul Glo into the conversation as one of the most important heavy bands in 2022. (Epitaph)