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Friday, September 18, 2009

CD Review: Shrinebuilder - s/t

Shrinebuilder - s/t
2009 Neurot Recordings
Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Over at the Neurot distribution pad, things are getting red-hot, particularly with one of this year's frequently-discussed collusions, Shrinebuilder. If the gathering of Scott "Wino" Weinrich, Dale Crover of the The Melvins, Scott Kelly of Neurosis and Om's Al Cisneros reads like a sludge metal wet dream on paper, consider it good as advertised.

Four members sharing lead vocal duties on lurching tracks of dropkicked nirvana, Shrinebuilder sinks themselves and their listeners into repeated dips of distorted trance guaranteed to generate bobs and bangs along the way.

Naturally you'll get shades of Saint Vitus and Spirit Caravan on the Wino-fronted "The Architect" and "Pyramid of the Moon" has Al Cisneros' dazy abstraction stamped all over it, not to mention Dale Crover's Melvins-esque plodding.

Nevertheless, this combination of ambient doom riders makes a logical union, each bringing their modes and execution styles under the fold of Shrinebuilder's nurturing microcosm. As Wino's current solo band recently experienced its own shakeup, you have to figure his three-day recording session with three of the cream of molten crop allowed him to vent with his greasy guitar and his rubble-gagged pipes. Ditto for his cohorts, who really make the most of the moment, collectively expounding five cuts of stoner-doom the underground is going to snap up ravenously.

"Blind For All to See" unravels translucent swerves in its establishment, patiently cultivating and jamming out a bed of sonic intensity with each overlapping bar--you know Neurot chief and Isis leader Aaron Turner approves of that. If guitars could pull herbal tugs, they'd sound trippily like those jerked out by Wino and Scott Kelly on this one.

The opening number "Solar Benediction" is a bit of a marathon (albeit a fun one) where each member sounds off in style and voice. Crunchy and methodic one minute, slower and heavier than pulling a skid loaded with cement blocks the next, "Solar Benediction," like the rest of Shrinebuilder is an enviable bit of work. Chocked 'n stocked with cosmic wah, death growls, clattery tom rolls and abusive riffs, it all works into a sedate hypnotism before unleashing a vengefully loud and sluggish clout on the tail end. Songwriting this deep obviously took longer than the three days Shrinebuilder allotted themselves in the studio, but it's impressive no matter the duration of time spent in its creation.

Unifications and team-ups galore in the metal scene today, Shrinebuilder is one of those which really matters...

Rating: ****


Anonymous said...

I don't know if I can follow your suggestions anymore brother.

Anonymous said...

Alot of folks seem to be disin' the new Marduk-Wormwood release,how come?

Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

lol, Anon 1, s'all good...I write for myself and I thank anyone who finds value and enjoyment in that...if you don't, it's no worry at all...not everyone's going to agree in this very-complicated society

Anon 2, I've not yet heard the Marduk-Wormwood album, so I can't give you my input at this time

Cheers to both of ya

rory.luolei said...

Nice review, but one thing... Aaron Turner is, of course, head honcho at Hydrahead, not Neurot. Neurot is run by the guys from Neurosis. Anyway, very excited about this album, thanks for the review!

Anonymous said...

Indeed, what has Aaron Turner got to do with this?