- by Nathan Fidler Rating:8 Release Date:2016-01-17 Label:
From out in California, The Shrine bring a sunnier blend to the heavy rock which was perfected in Britain. Their latest effort, Rare Breed, ups the ante in terms of jaw-bruising riffs and tasty licks. Smoke, sweat, beer and pizza has helped to thump up an album in a genre which seemed lost when Priestess bit the dust.
The Black Sabbath comparisons won’t be lost on you, but this is heavy rock for a more modern age. Despite the chugging and fret-wanking which feels more at home in the 70s, this is a very well produced album - the tightness of the band is in evidence at all points.
Between the relentless gut-punching title track and the basement-party soundtrack of ‘Acid Drop’, you’ll feel spoilt. This kind of heavy rock isn’t prevalent these days and it’s a shame, these guys keep the melodic vocals without losing any respect in their quest to be slamming, beardy rock monsters.
There are epic solos to be had between the grunting and bursting guitar riffs, but lyrically they’re at their best when seemingly singing about something you won’t comprehend without being in their inner circle. ‘Space Steppin’’ does this best, presenting you with a phrase you’ll want to use but won’t know how.
The flipside to this is that ‘Death To Invaders’ seems to conflict its message, while ‘Savage Skulls’ begins with interview clips alluding to the death of a nomad, leaving you wondering where this band stand on anything. Are these war cries? Calls to action? Or cautionary tales?
Aside from this niggling issue, you won’t find a more solid, enjoyable heavy rock record to throw your head around to (ok, so it’s still early in the year). Even the anthemic ‘Dusted and Busted’, with it’s slightly cliched lyrics - “pull the trigger”, “roll the dice”, “the way I was living I’d surely end up dead” - makes you want to croon along and pull face-melting impressions for the solo.
What first seems like some throw away rock, turns out to be the antidote to all the pretty and simplistic music. Good old fashioned heavy rock is just what the doctor ordered.