Welcome to the LOUDEST DOT COM ON THE PLANET!
KNAC.COM News Reviews and More Watch The Latest Videos Buy KNAC T-shirts and More


PEARL JAM Dark Matter

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Monday, April 1, 2024 @ 10:31 AM


- advertisement -
PEARL JAM
Dark Matter

Monkeywrench Records/Republic Records




Review By Pat Yukon

PEARL JAM's newest effort Dark Matter, has begun its final descent. Landing in our atmosphere & speakers on April 19, clocking in at just over 48 minutes long as the twelfth (studio) record in a thirty plus year journey into rock and roll royalty.

Dark Matter makes its way onto vinyl and in app stores everywhere, four years after Gigaton debuted, a debut shrouded in intensely chaotic global times. NO ONE was ready for COVID-19. NO ONE could have predicted the devastating impact that tagged along as its baggage. Mass quarantines and global lockdowns became the new "normal", courtesy of COVID. Curfews grown American adults had to adhere to? Shouldn't this be saved for your children, under your own roof and rules?

Curfews gave way to "Shelter In Place" policies. Immediately and eerily it felt like a punishment earmarked for me when I was a bratty child. Lashes delivered, this time from the belt of the lockdown and not my Father. Social lives pushed into forced hibernation. Similar to so many others, I was sleepwalking through this mental state of tonic immobility. Gigaton, for me, was a solid record. Quickly adopted as the official soundtrack of my pandemic existence! Critically, it was received well, producing tracks like "Dance of The Clairvoyants".

As much as I love my "emotional support record", once the pandemic limitations were lifted, Gigaton disappeared. Those were moments I waited to close my mental curtain on.

In the timespan since, they have toured on a limited schedule. Fans, like myself, want more. Impatient by nature, I have been waiting (impatiently) for a new collection of ear candy, willing it to find itself playing in my headphones. Finally, it's happened!

"Scared of Fear" opens the musical narrative in the vein of Ten. Jeff's bass pierces the silence with a soft & haunting bassline. Abruptly, cutting off to the sound of Stone hitting his chunky chords setting the overall pace of my "Dark Matter experience"!

Raising the question many have pondered about PEARL JAM. Have they lost their edge? Has PEARL JAM aged out? Are they now defining a genre called "Dad Rock"? At the tail end of the track, Ed addresses: "Is this what we've become, one last setting sun?" Mike McCready replies with a blistering guitar solo. Nope! They have not.

"React, Respond" is a straight up banger, easily feeling right at home on VS, No Code or Vitalogy. Fast, punky & chunky. Lead guitarist Mike McCready was quoted in recent interviews for Dark Matter saying "It's a lot heavier than you'd expect".

Absolutely. There is zero restraint on his solo and lead work. It's as if his fingers understand the last couple records were dialed back. During "React, Respond" and the majority of Dark Matter, his fingers are off-leash and in a dog fight against the fretboard.

Unlike the previous few records, Dark Matter succeeds in how song order is arranged. Despite aggressive curb appeal with a name like "Wreckage", the third song resembles "Parachutes", off of their self-titled release. Heartfelt as it is sad, gentle vocals guide us through issues of dealing with loss, as we are "combing through the wreckage", Ed sings.

At this point we have all heard the lead single and new album's namesake, Dark Matter. Matt Cameron is the engine driving this, resembling a modern vintage variant of themselves without forcing it. Unapologetic. Hard hitting. Delivering Vocals with assertive frustration in the world's craziness, through a thick brick wall of drums and guitars. "No love lost for lost loves, no sorrow for the unaccountable".

"Won't Tell" and "Upper Hand" are mid tempo, lowering the heart rate after "Dark Matter", preserving the build up, flow and trajectory Producer Andrew Watt set up. Ushering in the final act of this record is "Waiting For Stevie", "Running", "Something Special", "Got to Give" and the aptly titled "Setting Sun" as the closer.

"Waiting For Stevie", hands down my favorite tune, opens a musical narrative on issues like depression, anxiety, battles for self worth and acceptance. Showcasing how music can be audio medication to heal. Quite an emotional spectrum to navigate in a 4 minute song. Honestly, it is something I still experience sometimes.

Which leads me into the final song I want to talk about in this review, "Something Special". This song was penned by Ed and PJ new addition (touring guitarist), Josh Klinghoffer. I love it and I don't love it. It makes me think about my children. The sentiment and message are sweet. However, it is seated alone at PEARL JAM's triumphant return to form party. In my opinion, it belongs on Ed's next solo effort. "Something Special" plays out like the previous solo track "The Haves", a love song to his wife.

Who can blame the guy, he adores his family. After all love is akin to food and water. It is vital to our survival. Dark Matter makes it absolutely clear, PEARL JAM still throws a musical punch. Andrew Watt was a much needed change as producer. He simplified their process and pushed electrified creativity. Dark Matter and PEALR JAM win as a direct result.

Delivering a supercharged awakening of music where energy and emotion are fluid, start to finish, this plays out like one of their epic live shows!

4.5 Out Of 5 Stars


Back to Top

 

 

 Recent Reviews
AMON AMARTH, CANNIBAL CORPSE, OBITUARY, FROZEN SOUL In Portland, OR With Photos!
ULI JON ROTH In Ottawa, Canada
RAVEN, VICIOUS RUMORS, LUTHARO In Ottawa, Canada
BLIND GUARDIAN, NIGHT DEMON In Worcester, MA With Photos!
FIREWIND, EDGE OF PARADISE, IMMORTAL GUARDIAN In Houston, TX With Photos!
KERRY KING From Hell I Rise
DARKTHRONE It Beckons Us All
KAMELOT, HAMMERFALL, AD INFINITUM In Fort Worth, TX With Photos!
ASKING ALEXANDRIA, MEMPHIS MAY FIRE, THE WORD ALIVE, NERV In Salt Lake City, UT
ARTILLERY, VAPOR, POTENTIAL THREAT, INFRARED In Ottawa, Canada
BABYLON A.D. Rome Wasn't Built In A Day
ILLUSORY The Ivory Tower Reissue
GHOSTKID Hollywood Suicide
DAATH The Deceivers
ACCEPT Humanoid
BRUCE DICKINSON In Santa Ana, CA With Photos!
GREAT WHITE, SLAUGHTER, QUIET RIOT In Houston, TX With Photos!
STATIC-X, SEVENDUST, LINES OF LOYALTY In Salt Lake City, UT With Photos!
JUDAS PRIEST, SABATON In Youngstown, OH With Photos!
ROCK & BREWS Ridgefield, WA Grand Opening With Photos!
WIND ROSE, XANDRIA, LYCANTHRO In Ottawa, Canada
THE ROCK ORCHESTRA By Candlelight In Myrtle Beach, SC With Photos!
DEICIDE Banished By Sin
2024 MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE Recap With Photos!
LITA FORD In West Hollywood, CA With Photos!
BREAKING BENJAMIN, DAUGHTRY, CATCH YOUR BREATH In Idaho Falls, ID With Photos!
TYGERS OF PAN TANG Live Blood
FILTH Southern Hostility
NECROT Lifeless Birth
WAGE WAR, NOTHING MORE, VEIL OF MAYA, SLEEP THEORY In Charlotte, NC With Photos!
SESSANTA, Featuring A PERFECT CIRCLE, PRIMUS, PUSCIFER In Houston, TX With Photos!
ASKING ALEXANDRIA, MEMPHIS MAY FIRE, THE WORD ALIVE, NERV In Houston, TX With Photos!
RAVEN, VICIOUS RUMORS, LUTHARO, WICKED In West Hollywood, CA With Photos!
HIGH ON FIRE Cometh The Storm
DETHKLOK, DRAGONFORCE, NEKROGOBLIKON In Myrtle Beach, SC With Photos!
BLACKTOP MOJO Pollen



HOME | MAGAZINE | VIDS | STORE | HELP/POLICIES

©2024 KNAC.COM. All Rights Reserved.    Link to us    Advertise with us    Privacy policy
 Latest News