Stonehigh
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Stonehigh

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By Bill Meredith

Special to The Palm Beach Post

Friday, July 20, 2007

If you're 21 or older, you may remember "metal" bands that didn't have singers who sounded like a baritone Satan screaming in the deep end of a pool of Jell-O (that perplexing modern metallic phenomenon called "screamo").

But metal has always been a relative term. It was used in the 1970s on acts from Black Sabbath to Led Zeppelin; '80s hair bands Motley Crue and Poison, '90s grunge groups Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, and today on Tool and Sevendust. In essence, it's the single-word term you use to describe a hard rock band - like West Palm Beach quintet Stonehigh - when there isn't a better one.

Stonehigh's hip-hop-sounding name isn't a reference to drug use. It's inspired by the Bible passage about Joshua and the 12 stones, which were used to make a pillar from which to pronounce the greatness of God. Yes, Stonehigh is a Christian metal band, something vocalist Steve Beaulieu isn't shy about. He even croons in church on mornings after he alternately sings and shrieks at nightclubs.

"We're not trying to use it as a label, but at the same time, we're all Christians and don't deny it," he says. "Our goal is to be able to play at both churches and other venues, but most of our musical influences aren't Christian bands."

Beaulieu is only 22, drummer Dave Bolenbaugh 18, guitarist Wil Taylor and bassist/vocalist Zack Bonchak 19, and guitarist Jon Ross 23.

They're in the age bracket of most screamo noisemakers, yet the music by these full and part-time employees and students features memorable melodies, hard-edged harmonies, and odd-timed rhythms. Audio on the group's MySpace page includes the fan favorite Take It Back, and there's a live video of the alternately tuned Down and Cold ("We play in dropped C," Beaulieu says). Both songs are candidates to make the group's forthcoming studio debut, This Calling.

In the meantime, the group's budget live CD, Live From South Florida, is available at shows. Recorded in 2006 at SunFest, it features Take It Back and another highlight in SDP, with Bolenbaugh's creatively-timed 6/8 drum cadence.

Stonehigh is confirmed, and waiting to hear its forthcoming dates for, the Armed Forces Entertainment Group tour, in which they'll perform for American service personnel in the Middle East.

"I can't wait for that," Beaulieu says. "Just put me on a plane - I don't care how long it takes to get there. We all discussed balancing the excitement and the fear, but how many bands get to go over there, especially at a time like this?"

See Stonehigh at 9 p.m. Saturday at Murphy's Downtown, 36 S.E. Third St. in Boca Raton (561-447-6617). The band also performs at 7 p.m. Aug. 3 at Ray's Downtown Blues, 519 Clematis St. in West Palm Beach (561-835-1577). On the Web: www.myspace.com/stonehigh
- The Palm Beach Post


Discography

This Calling - May 20th, 2008

1. Awakened
2. Heretic
3. Flight 71
4. At The Hands Of The Saints
5. Break Free
6. Down & Cold
7. Take It Back
8. Only Half The Truth
9. The Truth
10. The Lie
11. Push
12. Colours

Photos

Bio

STONEHIGH: Biography

Stonehigh found themselves right where it all started in their hometown of West Palm Beach, FL. Reforming in January 2007 after five months of hibernation, original members Steve Beaulieu (vocals), Zack Bonchack (bass) and Dave Bolenbaugh (drums) stumbled upon their new lead guitar player Jon Ross on music supersite "Myspace.com" From day one, Jon's style gelled perfectly with the already established band. Soon after Steve decided to quit playing guitar all together and focus on vocals.

The new Stonehigh is a modern mix of old and new, combining proven formulas of such bands as Metallica and Pantera and new classics in the vein of Sevendust.

If this quintet has their way Hardrock will never be the same. Driving guitars, ripping solos and soaring vocals layered atop a kicking rhythm section ensures that your head will be bopping and your arms will be swinging.

"We don't want to recreate what's already been done. We want to do something different," tells Steve, lead singer. "Let's face it, there's nothing new under the sun, everything goes full circle. It's time to start mixing genres."

On the band's upcoming debut album they do just that. Their mixture of hard rock music with melodically delivered vocals and nu metal primal screaming puts them in a new wave of what they like to refer to as Melodic Rock. Also to be found on their Spring 2008 release "This Calling" is "At the Hands of the Saints" a song written in response to such tragedies as 9/11 and the more recent Virginia Tech Massacre. Look forward to not only the band's trademark sound but lead singer, Beaulieu, will be backed by a full choir and string section.

STONEHIGH: A Definition

The name comes from two places. Firstly, I write fantasy novels, in the vein of J.R.R. Tolkien, and R.A. Salvatore. The main city in one of my books is called Stonehigh. The name derived from the bible passage of Joshua and the 12 stones. He placed one atop another creating a tall pillar which stood to tell all who pass of the greatness of His God and the miracle he performed by drying up the Jordan River, thus allowing he and his army to pass easily.

I named the city Stonehigh because it's walls were made of thick impenetrable stone. The stone walls were more a dome than a wall, keeping it safe from the outside world. Within, it's streets were oft travelled by the mightiest of the lands guards, keeping the city safe from the inside as well.

I see this band as a strong tower, a refuge for the hurting and the broken to come and feel safe. Within, we are guarded by the lands mightiest guard, God himself. Without, we are covered by the blood of Christ, a hedge of protection with which none can pass.

Joshua built a pillar. This band, in my eyes, is that pillar. We stand firm and strong, all who see us will know God did something mighty and miraculous in the creation of Stonehigh.