For Fans Of
Born following the break-up of post-hardcore monoliths Alexisonfire, Melbourne’s Gladstone hope to, in their own small way, help fill the void left by the influential international’s departure from the scene. Fresh off the back of supporting Dance Gavin Dance at the Corner Hotel earlier this month, the band’s second offering ‘Cold Bones’ is a sure sign that this will not be the last big show the boys play for a while. Gladstone’s sophomore EP is an eclectic, chaotic but overall melodic release that will assuredly be embraced by fans of the genre alike.
Opening softly, with vocalist Lucas Chong solemnly singing before the band surges in with one of the sludgiest riff that has ever graced this reviewer’s ears, it’s immediately engaging and attentive. However, from its first, soft impressions, nothing really prepares you for what follows. With the instrumentation found within ‘Cold Bones’ we’re reminded of bands such as the aforementioned Alexisonfire, throwbacks to The Fall of Troy (especially with vocal phrasing and melody), and even on heavier tracks, such as the EP’s opener ‘Great White Buffalo’, the raw sludginess of Germany’s The Ocean. Chong’s voice is versatile and rich in range; especially in the way he utilises it throughout. Sure, his clean voice isn’t exactly crystal clear and always polished, but it’s raw and sharp. A touch of his Australian accent can be heard in the delivery, which should fill domestic listeners with a sense of pride knowing there are solid upstart bands like Gladstone coming out of Oz. Moreover, with an assertive scream, the frontman equally gives the EP an edge that attacks with every lyric sung, screamed and shouted. “I’m not your neighbour, I’m just your dog, you fucking cunt!”, on ‘Great White Buffalo’, drives the point home.
Contrastively, the guitar work of axemen Michael Chen and Bob Laughlin can only be described as crushing, feeling as though they carry the weight of the album. But, it’s not easy to forget the moments in which the EP interludes to clean, pedal-driven melodies reminiscent of post-rock shoegazers sleepmakeswaves. This is all complemented by the pounding bass of Tyson Venn as well as the intricate drumming of Steve Rogers, who can often be heard with thrashing fills and clean time changes, especially on ‘Hyacanth Thrash’.
This is a release that, straight from the soft opening to the fadeout of the closing track, just does not quit; it builds up momentum and keeps going until an epic climax.
However, the only downfalls are the production quality and certain lyrical themes. While it gets the job done, going forward, you’d love to hear these songs just a touch cleaner. They are definitely raw and gritty, but maybe just a bit too much for the average ear – nonetheless post-hardcore fans will easily forgive the less than perfect quality of the production for the stellar quality of the songs. Additionally, there’s not much to take away from the themes. They are certainly aggressive and angsty – especially on a track like ‘Great White Buffalo’, although sometimes the indiscernible nature of what is being sung, perhaps, discounts from what could be, and what seems so far like, very decent lyric writing.
The headline here is the title track. That’s your starting point and neat introduction. It has the makings of a classic post-hardcore anthem, with soaring choruses, pounding drums, chunky riffs and an oddly timed breakdown that will have any fan of the genre throwing their fists in the air.
Gladstone’s latest release, ‘Cold Bones’, is a delightful treat for the Melbourne scene. Once you get past the indifferent production you are graced with anthemic, punk inspired songs from a newly found gem of a local band. We can only imagine what these guys would sound like live.
- Great White Buffalo
- Cold Bones
- Hyacanth Thrash
- Why We Fight
- Pride Fighter