The Shrine – Bless Off

Rating

I was pretty impressed with these guys when they opened for Red Fang last month. While they’re not reinventing the wheel, they sure know how to roll it, bringing down some brief blasts of heavy vintage tuneage. It’s almost like one of those semi-obscure heavy bands from the early 70s (Dust, Bang, Gun, take your pick…) slid down a wormhole and ended up here 40 years later. Yeah, something like that.

Oh, and throw some Fu Manchu into that portal while you’re at it. These guys got their first big break opening for the Fu a couple years back, and you can certainly hear their influence on tunes like opener “Destroyers,” which sorta sounds like it’s sung by Scott Hill—though it’s got a bit more of a heavy-metal crunch, even throwing in the odd falsetto. “Tripping Corpse” will get stuck in your head with its repetitive chorus, a quick-and-dirty tune about dirty hippies. Speaking of dirty hippies, “The Duke” sounds like a head-on collision between Dave Chandler and Ozzy Osbourne. Whoa, man!

“Nothing Forever” is the longest song at 5:30 and change, and its opening riff certainly has visions of Dust, Sir Lord Baltimore or even Angel Witch dancing in my head—before they pick things up into a punky pace a la vintage SoCal hardcore, eventually bringing back the 70s grooves with an extended instrumental section. Likewise, the title track packs plenty of vintage metal riffage into a mere three minutes and 10 seconds, while “Spit in My Life” is what happens when you shove some metal guitar solos into a two-minute punk tune.

All told, this has gotta be the best record I’ve heard in 2014… although that doesn’t really mean much yet.

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.

8.5 Rating