December 16, 2014
by Paul Blest

It’s no secret that it takes some bands years, multiple records, and one or more stints at great recording studios to get their formula right. It takes time to grow into a groove with bandmates and develop a unique style of songwriting, and sometimes even that isn’t enough.

Soul Glo got it right with a live recording that they did in three days, six months after they formed.

The Philadelphia band, made up of vocalist Pierce Jordan, guitarist Ruben Polo, bassist Ethan Brennan and drummer Dustin Sokol, just dropped their first untitled full length on Bandcamp, thirteen tracks that drive seamlessly between all spectrums of aggressive hardcore, with parts ranging from the dramatic screamo of The Saddest Landscape to the raw, crushing mid-’90s metalcore of early Earth Crisis or Chokehold. 

Jordan’s songwriting is what really sets the band apart from most of their contemporaries, however, with the dominant lyrical theme centering around a drive-by shooting targeted at his aunt and cousin’s house and, as Jordan says, “[something] that happens to my family and every other family of color in this country, is some kind of suffering incurred from having to live in a society that only wants to take your life from you in one way or another.” And in this space, Jordan tackles politics, war, and systemic racism and sexism in such an emotional way that a hardcore band hasn’t made me feel since the first time I heard Paint It Black and Punch.

“I decided to write my lyrics when I considered that the most truly ‘hardcore’ thing I could write about was my actual fucking life, and how this society built on so much bullshit fucks up my life as a person of color, and in a very real way, fucked up my family’s life,” Jordan says. “I guess that because I’m black and this is a genre for white people, a person simply writing about the fucked up aspects of existence seems ‘original’…because there are so few people of color involved in this genre of music, I am more wary now than I ever have been of my white peers and anyone who claims to support the meaning of my words, this album, or Soul Glo in general, more than I ever have been. This double and triple thought is a hallmark of the constant pain in my ass that being involved creatively in a discussion of my blackness in any way can sometimes be.”

Soul Glo’s debut is on Bandcamp now, and you can pre-order the cassette here from Philly punk label Girls Cartel Records.