Words by Jimmy Glinster
Every once in a while a band comes across my earholes that I’ve heard of before but know fuck all about.
Regular Gonzales is just that. I’ve seen this band name on show posters many times, and I’m sure I’ve even attended a couple of festivals that they’ve played at.
Maybe it’s their love for wearing shorts on stage that’s made me overlook them, or maybe I’ve just never been in the right spot at the right time? Who knows, but without having any preconceptions about them, let me just focus on their latest release, Beige Alert. Odd title, let’s see what it’s all about, shall we …
With a name like Schoonhenge, I’m guessing the opening track has something to do with Schooners and is some kind of ode to the frothy ale. The track kicks off with a pretty neat stoner/sludge/booze rock riff, and I’m feeling like I’m in for an enjoyable ride. I could name a fair few bands this sounds just like, but I won’t, I’ll just enjoy the track for what it is. A beer swilling rocking good time!
Well, this next one’s a bit weird, the timing anyways. Part djent, part prog, part weird as fuck, I dig it! It takes some talent to jump in and out of time signatures while managing to maintain a solid groove, but that’s just what Afterthought does. There doesn’t seem to be any rules with this track, the band just take it wherever the fuck they feel it needs to go.
Worlds Weight continues with the broken grooves, and it’s starting to appear that we may be on some kind of alternative prog adventure here, rather than a beer rock journey as the opening track led me to believe. Goddamn, this track grooves harder than a rusty needle in a half-melted vinyl. If the summer heat in Qld doesn’t melt ya brain, this track just might.
As Forget The Gold kicks in, I decide to stop trying to count the time signatures because, well, I just couldn’t be fucked. Also, this song bangs, so I’m just gonna enjoy it. For a 3-piece box, they sure have created a massive sonic assault. Not sure if I’m hearing guest vocals in a couple of these tracks, or if vocalist JD has some kind of multiple vocal personality disorder. Or maybe not, maybe it’s just Stoyan from Adriatic!
A short little rock riff in the intro to Ultra leads me to believe that this track might take as back to some normality, but no, it kind of gets a bit weird again as they blend the stoner vibes of the opening track with the alternative prog of the rest of the album so far. It does rock, though, and almost sounds very four-to-the-floor in moments. Don’t be fooled though, it’s very much not. Again, a good balance of rock, bounce, groove and whatever the fuck time signature each part’s in. I’ll leave the twist in the bridge for you all to discover yourselves.
If I wasn’t enjoying this so much, after giving up trying to count along, this band would be doing my head in by now. Hex Worker carries on again with the broken grooves, which just drag ya in and force ya to bang your head in some kind of offbeat fashion. Just follow the hats and snare, and you should be able to slot into the groove of it all. Those slides though, ooft!
3 tracks to go, and I’m really interested to see what they throw at me next. Heavy groove, that’s what they’ve thrown at me in Blowback. Wait, what’s that, a tasty little rock riff thrown off kilter with an unusual rhythmic stutter. Bring back the riff, they’d say, why even leave it, just shuffle it around with a few different grooves. I’ve gotta say, the rhythm
section of Paige and Danny on tubs and bass sure do keep things interesting, although sometimes a little tough to follow.
Rising Tide takes a more generic form of heavy thrash, but not too generic with its random squeals and accents. Guest vocalist maybe? Sure there is, it’s Si from Massic jumping onboard to add a touch of his ferocious vocal assault. There is a shit tonne of purely instrumental groove on this track when the vocals stop for a breath.
I think this last one is in 3⁄4, but I’m probably wrong. Overunder is what it is called, and it pretty well follow’s suit with the rest of the album, apart from that weird sludge rock one at the very beginning. Multi-layered vocals add an extra layer of uniquity to the track, and I’m again sensing some guest vocals.
And just like that, the album is over after 41 minutes of time bending groove. It could be about time I get off my lazy ass and make an attempt to actually watch this band. You should too, but not before you give this cracker of an album a good solid listen!
But before I go, I should probably give a shout-out to the full list of guests from the Australian Heavy Music scene that lent their time to create this experience for you.
In order of Appearance: Cameron Douglas of The Flattrakkers, Drug Mother and Muntday on Schoonhenge
Grant & Faber of Strange Fiction on World’s Weight, Stoyan of Adriatic on Forget The Gold and Simon of Massic on Rising Tide.