Monday, November 9, 2009
The doom plagued winds of hell must be in perfect alignment during 2009 as Shrinebuilder have risen from the unholy depths to fill a serious metal void. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what stoner rock dreams are made of. The pairing of the all-star line-up comprised of Scott “Wino” Weinrich (St. Vitus, The Obsessed, The Hidden Hand, etc.), Dale Crover (Melvins), Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om), and Scott Kelly (Neurosis) should give a hint as to their sound before ever hearing a note… heavy. The individual pieces that comprise the band stem from some of the world’s most legendary stoner/doom acts since the genre’s inception, but to bring them all together is an entirely new and colossal beast. With such a collection of musicians comes enormous expectations, and on their Neurot Recordings self-titled debut, Shrinebuilder create no doubts regarding their bands statement and what they aim to accomplish. As you may very well have expected, the songs are low end driven, epic, heavy, lengthy, and churn at a slow burning pace. Strong attention to atmosphere, psychedelics, raucous solos, and crushing layering come across as second nature to Shrinebuilder, more than just an impressive list of individuals, but rather the perfect storm blending each member’s signature style. The hypnotic sludge fest thoroughly displays why these men are considered pioneers, coming together with full force and vocals handled by all four members. The entire album was recorded in just three days earlier this year, wasting no time tightening their signature styles into one monstrous sound known only as Shrinebuilder.
Those familiar with Wino’s musical output during the past decade will immediately recognize his dirty blues licks and vocals on the opening track “Solar Benediction”. His playing works together with Kelly’s to fill in each other’s gaps, trading back and forth on lead guitar and vocals. The tag team soulful howl of Wino and the demonic bark of Kelly switch off highlighting what they bring to the table, enhancing each other in the process. The chemistry is certainly there, impressively built in rapid time as only veterans can do. While the guitars are undoubtedly a transfixed focal point on their sound, the rhythm section grooves with a bond like brothers separated at birth, creating deep slinking tempos that inch forwards and pound with precision-timed bleakness. Crover’s drum rolls are stunning as the tempos speed and slow with haunting beauty through eerie atmospherics towards the pummeling wall of sound. “Pyramid of the Moon” is primarily driven by Cisneros, with a deep walking bass line that grooves under his spiritually mesmerizing mantra vocals. The song is relaxed and laid back, but the small nuances of each member can be found lurking in the mix, providing an unbelievable texture.
“Blind For All to See” opens with an ominous bass riff that flows in the midst of subterranean lows. The band slowly builds upon the rhythm adding fuzzy guitars that circle woozily like vultures set to devour. The centerpiece of the album gets a sensual rhythm from Crover as the band drifts into deep psychedelic trance territory on a track that owes a great deal to Cisneros’ Om. Wino amps things back up on “The Architect,” with his signature jamming that the rest of the band has no qualms about joining in on. The track is massive; vocals are shared all around with demonic harmonies as they ask “when is the waking hour?” A ripping solo draws the band into another entrancing bass groove from Cisneros that leads directly into the album’s closer, “Science of Anger”. Roaring out the gate with mammoth layers of evil sonic exploration, the rhythm section jaggedly bounces under the ever changing intertwining riffs. Wino takes lead vocals once again, but it’s his melodic lines pushing into Kelly’s harsh growl that are truly something to witness. The melody fuses into the gruff bark, only expanding further into a stellar space age daze with the addition of Crover and Cisneros’ vocals. Warping guitar tones and syncopated drum fills bring the song to an enormous slow-dive outwards with a long snaking heavy psychedelic jam all the way to the finish.
Shrinebuilder are much more than your average “supergroup,” they are the godfather’s of doom as we know it, and have come together to reign supreme. The press release states this album is “the first chapter in what promises to be an epic narrative” and anyone who appreciates good heavy doom will not want to go without this record. Only time will tell what the band’s future holds ahead, but for the sake of metal let’s hope this is just the triumphant beginning of their new monolithic legacy built together.
Posted by Dan Goldin at 2:31 AM