30000 MonkiesBelgian noisemakers, 30,000 Monkies are an interesting bunch. “I Ate Myself To Grow Twice As Big” is the band’s first full length outing following on from two EP’s. This is a curious mix of punkish attitude, doom and stoner riffs with a chunk of drone prog psychedelia thrown in for good measure. So how does all that translate? Well, this definitely feels like an album of two parts where there’s pure aggression on one hand followed by more spacey explorations on the other. What brings it together is a complete sense of chaos.

Like seething, early Nirvana crossed with Blag Flag, “Malaena” comes across as desperate, primal and dangerous. The band sound very stripped back and raw from the outset. This theme continues into “Coproliet” which at times is a far more brutal affair with short, sharp stabs that border on grindcore. Then comes “Coccinelle” with its’ psychotic drone that hangs on the edge and brings doom textures to the forefront.

Vocally, Ruben Savelkoul displays some of that screamed desperation that harks back to angry Kurt Cobain and complements the chainsaw guitars with furious drumming from Dries Schreurs. This is evident on “Mountainesque II” with moments that really cut loose and also where we start to hear nods towards Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd with a sense of confusion creeping in. The track fits in well with “Apollo 10” and “Mountainesque I” where those Floyd synth tangents are mixed with Hawkwind-like explorations overlaid with some sludgy and crusty riffs. There’s a feeling of disturbed confusion that returns time and again through the album which is like a deconstructed hailstorm of chaos being blasted out of the speakers. The vocal effects add another dimension to it all as their psychedelic side is slathered with generous layers of doom encrusted fuzz.

“Juice” is the longest track at almost 13 minutes and closes out the album. With moments that are very percussive, it has that danger element that can be found on Pink Floyd’s “Careful With That Axe Eugene”. The track fades away into a luscious synth dreamscape that feels a million miles away from the start of the album.

So, what to make of it all? 30,000 Monkies certainly aren’t holding themselves down to any genre in particular. “I Ate Myself To Grow Twice As Big” has plenty of tangents and moments of unbridled raw appeal. The album artwork is a pretty accurate reflection of its contents too and you get the impression that they’re a band enjoying the freedom to do as they damn well please.

(7.5/10 Johnny Zed)