Released: 2009, Southern Lord Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
The fact that Scott “Wino” Weinrich isn’t a platinum selling rock star is absolutely criminal. An icon to names like Phil Anselmo, Henry Rollins, Rob Zombie, and legions of doom/stoner rock fans worldwide, Wino is talent personified. A creative force behind Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, Place of Skulls, and The Hidden Hand, the guy’s discography reads like a “must have” list for any self respecting doom fan. Though he’s served as front man for some of the greatest bands in the genre, PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM is Wino’s first attempt at a solo record, going simply under the moniker “Wino.”
PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM is 10 songs of classic Wino - the gruff, weathered voice, the ridiculous guitar solos, the cloud of some kind of controlled substance hanging over your speakers, all what you’d expect to be delivered. “Release Me” opens the disc with grooves and hooks, creating a musical swagger that just feels good. “Punctuated Equilibrium” is a punk-infused number reminiscent of some of faster tunes on THE CHURCH WITHIN. “The Woman in the Orange Pants” is the first of four instrumental tunes scattered throughout the album and sounds like it could have been a lost track from the LUNAR WOMB sessions – thick, heavy, and full of doom laden goodness. Some have expressed dismay at 40% of the album being instrumental, but as unique as Wino’s vocal delivery is, it’s his guitar work that’s always put him on a pedestal. As this is his opportunity to express himself outside of the context of a band unit, I get why he chose to go this route. “Wild Blue Yonder”, another instrumental, opts for some jazz inspired jams while “Eyes of the Flesh”, “Secret Realm Devotion”, and “Silver Lining” are the more heavy juggernauts one would expect from the man.
For the album, Wino tapped Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and Rezin bassist Jon Plank. He was definitely on the mark in his selection for a backing band, as they create a menacing power trio that knows how to jam. Check out “Smilin’ Road” for a great example of this, with its loose guitars and swinging drum beats. My only gripe about the album is that as Wino has pulled influences from the various chapters of his career to create PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM, the album doesn’t feel as tight as it could be. While Wino was the key figure in The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, and The Hidden Hand, all of those bands had distinct sounds that were unique to them. Collecting those different vibes on one stage still makes for an amazing collection of songs, but they feel like individual compositions that happen to be on one album rather than one album with a collection of unified songs.
But I digress, even the worst collection of tunes from Scott “Wino” Weinrich is better than most of what you’re probably listening to right now. Wino is an exceptionally talented and creative artist who will hopefully find the spotlight that he so rightfully deserves. If you’re a fan of the man’s work, you’ll probably already own this or have it on your wish list. If you’re new to Wino and the amazing body of work that he’s given us, check out PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM for a big picture snapshot of where the man has been. Then do yourself a favor and pick up The Obsessed’s LUNAR WOMB (long out of print, but recently reissued – thanks Meteor City Records!) to discover why the man is revered throughout metal circles worldwide.