Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder (Review) - Idol Threat: Warning Shots at the Mainstream


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder (Review)


Neurot Recordings

Shrinebuilder is a doom/sludge fan’s dream come true. They are a metal supergroup that consists of Scott Kelly of Neurosis on guitar and vocals, Dale Crover of the Melvins on drums, Al Cisneros of Sleep & Om on bass, and the legendary doom demi-god Scott "Wino" Weinrich on guitar and vocals. Scott Weinrich has been a doom/stoner metal staple, having been in such luminary bands as Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand and The Obsessed. He’s practically the missing link (or missing riff if you’d rather) between Sabbath and modern doom metal. Alone these tectonic titans are formidable in their own right, but combined together they have the potential to send tremors that can shake the metal world to its very core.

You often hear of groups being greater than the sum of its parts but for now Shrinebuilder remains simply the sum of its parts. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, on paper alone the “sum of its parts” still stands to make one hell of an album; it just isn’t quite the metal masterpiece that fans may have been hoping for. The record pretty much sounds like what you would expect the result would be when you combine these artists into one band. The general feel of the album seems to be stuck somewhere in the middle stylistically between the two guitarists - not quite as thunderous and heavy as the earth stomping sounds of Neurosis, yet not quite as spaced out as the bluesy, psychedelic rock of Scott Weinrich’s current band (simply called “Wino.”) Although they don’t stand out, Wino’s stoner wail and Kelly’s gruff bellows don’t quite fit together seamlessly either. It isn’t enough to sound jarring and the individual parts still sound extraordinary, but it still has a slight piecemeal feel to it vocally.

The album doesn’t sound quite as fragmented as you would think however. Al’s bass playing doesn’t merely act as a backdrop and combined with the two other guitarists they provide this album with an abundance of riffs that will resonate in your skull for days. Dale Crover’s drumming is pretty straightforward but he does venture into slight tribal rhythms that provide familiar ground for Scott Kelly, and both he and Wino sound right at home behind this rhythm section. I read an interview where the band describes the recording process as very natural and instinctive, and you can definitely hear the chemistry and comfortablility in these tracks. The members fit together in their respective roles without any friction or ego and they indeed sound very natural together. Where the record really starts sounding interesting is during the instrumental parts where they start venturing into layers of psychedelia and ambience. These sections are actually quite abundant and really showcase how well these artists interact. They’re lush enough to warrant an instrumental version of the album that wouldn’t sound too bare from lack of vocals.

Even though the individual members have been making music for decades they are still a new band and this album definitely shows a band that is enthusiastic and talented, but have yet to find their combined identity. You can start to hear that identity creeping forward in parts of the album, and even the vocals start to blend together nicely when the rest of the band layers their voices and Scott Kelly uses the rough croon heard on his solo endeavors instead of the growls found on his Neurosis releases. The pedigree of the group alone is enough to make this worth several headphone replays so it’s not like you’ll be disappointed in picking this up. Although this is fairly short for a doom album (just over 39 minutes) that fact simply leaves you wanting more instead of feeling cheated. They didn’t quite make a masterpiece with their debut, but from the sounds of things it isn’t that far off, and if they manage to find that convergence with their next album they might just turn everyone else into the Shrinebuilers instead.

Website: Neurot Artist Page
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1 comment:

  1. they were everything you'd want them to be live. the cd doesn't do justice to it at all.