Wino – Punctuated Equilibrium
For some people, music ended in 1979 when Ozzy Osbourne left Black Sabbath and the metal / prog scene was in the middle of getting a right shoeing from Punk. One of those people is Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich, influential guitarist/vocalist with bands such as The Obsessed, Saint Vitus and Spirit Caravan.
After his last band, Hidden Hand, collapsed he decided to strike out with a ‘solo’ album, helped on his way by drummer Jean Paul Glaster (Clutch) and bassist Jon Blank (Rezin).
What they’ve created together is an album that the classic Sabbath line-up may have produced had they had access to Twenty First centaury recording technology – heavy as hell with a massive bottom end that wraps the listener in a cocoon of warm fuzz.
There is no doubt that this record is so riddled with cliché that it’s probably only that that’s holding it together, but it is so perfectly executed and immaculately produced you kind of have to forgive them and just take it for what it is, a cracking rock and roll record by a bunch of guys who fervently wish the last 30 years hadn’t happened.
The musicianship is superb, Weirich’s guitar playing especially virtuosic, solo’s fire out all over the place in classic metal stylee and the rhythm section underpin the guitar induced lighting with deep, deep thunder. Check the bridge section of ‘The Woman In Orange Pants’ for a perfect example of how tight these guys are.
If there’s a weak point here then it’s got to be in the area of vocal / lyrical content. Weinrich’s voice is just too blatantly sub-Ozzy in tone and execution. Whether this is conscious or not is moot, but it does irritate in places and some of the couplets are so bad it’s almost funny. However, when the band cracks in to such a cascade of monster riffage as they do on the title track this quickly becomes irrelevant.
Other standout moments include the album opening ‘Ironman’-esque opening riff to the album on ‘Silver Lining’, just absolutely massive! ‘Gods, Frauds, Neo-Cons & Demagogue’ follows up with not only the record’s best title but also one of its heaviest riffs, so bass heavy that it nearly drops through the floor.
File under big, dumb and extremely good fun.
Top Tracks: ‘Silver Lining’, ‘Punctuated Equilibrium’.
Released 26th January on Southern Lord