By Dave Sanders
Metal is ultimately ruled by trends. Coming off the wildly popular period of genre blending that left the metal with a seemingly endless array of “cores” in its wake, the time of the super group is at hand. With The Company Band and Damnocracy making their unimpressive debuts, the only hope for the future seems to rest with Shrinebuilder, whose ranks include Scott “Wino” Weinrch (Saint Vitus, The Obsessed) and Scott Kelly (Neurosis) on guitars, Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om) on bass and Dale Crover (Melvins) on drums, with each sharing the vocal duties.
Shouded in fuzz and doom, the self-titled disc never seems to relent. Throughout the experience, the tempos and tones vary considerably, but never getting too far from the stoner, sludge, doom template that the members have built their collective careers on. The first track, “Solar Benediction”, sets the standard early, with the first two thirds of the song roaring out of the gates and then suddenly degenerating into an down tempo, clean toned jam. The other gems on the album are “Blind For All To See”, which simply builds and builds to a free-form instrumental showcase and then wraps up right back into the song, and the closer, “Science of Anger”, which is a fitting cap to the album. This nine and a half minute epic sets the new standard of stoner metal.
With a roster of talent that is hard to match, Shrinebuilder’s Shrinebuilder is an impressive debut. The only knock against it is that it lacks a certain power that only a live performance can bring, Here’s hoping for a Canadian tour.