Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder

If you read the last post, you'll noticed I mentioned that I had TWO heavy hitters to put up today as tribute for my lack of posting albums recently (Kinda like the Yom Kippur of metal or something). Thus, I now follow through with my most awaited album of the year. By far.

Shrinebuilder, as every metal website in the world has said, is a supergroup made up of Scott Michael Kelly (of Neurosis) Al Cisneros (of AsbestosDeath, Sleep, and OM), Scott "Wino" Weinrich (of basically every classic doom band ever including The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, and most recently Wino), and Dale Crover (Drummer of the Melvins). Basically, a legendary doom gathering of the tribes/minds/spirits/whatever.

When it comes to supergroups, I will almost always be the first one to set my expectations super, super fucking low. Hype through the roof + the reality of them being side-projects of other already amazing bands + my usual completely over the top ridiculous hyperbolic tendencies = total fucking let down with the end product most of the time. Shrinebuilder completely blows that shit away.

If I were to sum up my first couple of listens in middle school science terms, Shrinebuilder is a beautiful heterogeneous compound. In other words, when you put sugar in water it becomes the homogenous "sugar water," but when you put sand in water, it's still water and still sand. You can see both of the component parts. In Shrinebuilder, you can definitely pull out each player's contribution to the group. Not just like, "Hmmm... this song sounds a lot like Neurosis..." or whatever, but even parts of songs. I guess the most visible example of this is in "Pyramid of the Moon." You can definitely feel the Wino and SMK lead in the beginning of the song and as it progresses, the whole song pulls a slow shift towards Al Cisneros's lead until he kicks it full gear in to a Sleep/OM style drone for the 2nd half of the song. Each riff shows the fingerprint of the person who wrote it. Most riffs gotta lotta fucking fingerprints though.

Usually when a band sounds so strongly like it's components, it almost always fails at sounding like a comprehensive whole. Somehow, probably because every person involved in this project is a fucking genius when it comes to doom, Shrinebuilder feels whole. No song feels out of place, no section feels jarring or confused, no tone or note doesn't belong. That's what really makes this album interesting to me. How unbelievable the balance between the parts and the whole is from start to finish. Just listen and tell me I'm wrong.

All of this being said, Shrinebuilder is surprisingly different than what I expected, but not different than what I hoped for. I was kind of expecting Dale's tribal, crushing, war drums to be driving a Dopesmoker bassline with Neurosis uber delayed guitars and Wino singing. What I got was a whole shit ton of Wino/SMK guitars and atmosphere mixed with some OM droning and driving, Dale acting as an anchor for the band to swirl around, and everyone takes turns on the mic. It's fucking cool.

Fuck this, I've said too much. Listen to the album and tell me I'm wrong. I could talk about this band for another fucking decade man. I am so stoked to see them next month at Poisson rouge with Rwake.

Get tix now kids.