Released: 2009, Neurot Recordings
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Go buy this album.
Need some more prompting? How about this – Shrinebuilder is a “supergroup” of sorts featuring the talents of Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed, Saint Vitus), Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om), Scott Kelly (Neurosis) and Dale Crover (The Melvins). This is seriously kind of lineup that could only have been imagined in the wettest of my doom laden dreams. Originating as collaboration between Wino and Kelly a few years ago, the addition of Cisneros and Crover fully realized Shrinebuilder as a band and has resulted in the recently released self titled debut. Though the album features many familiar elements from each band member’s day jobs, the overall sound of Shrinebuilder is original and captivating.
SHRINEBUILDER is full of the thick guitar riffs and the monstrous rhythm section that you’d expect from a union like this, but culminates in a spacey, almost experimental desert rock vibe. Each of the five songs here has their own distinct identity, but flow together seamlessly from beginning to end into one complete listening experience. Wino and Kelly trade vocal duties over the course of the album, with Wino playing the part of the angry, gruff persona while Kelly adopts the more psychedelically mellow, trance inducing role. Dark, rocking riffs give way effortlessly to subdued reflective moments that juxtapose together in a way that’s so simple, you don’t even notice the transitions. Cisneros chimes in on the vocals as well while carrying the weight of the bottom end, and I’m convinced that drummer Dale Crover has to have four arms (you need to see this guy hammer it out live to believe it).
With five songs clocking in at right about 40 minutes, SHRINEBUILDER is indeed a full plate of tunes. But to a certain extent it feels unfinished. The album kick starts into gear with “Solar Benediction” and progresses amiably into “Pyramid of the Moon” and through “The Architect”, but I was expecting a bigger closeout at the end of “Science of Anger.” Though it’s a great tune, it doesn’t feel like an album closer, but rather just the last song on the disc. And one has to believe that creatively between the four of them, there had to be enough material to merit a double album. But I digress.
There aren’t any real negatives on SHRINEBUILDER, just the wanting of more of the goodness that the album successfully delivers. With a union that appears to have come completely out of left field, after listening to the album you’ll likely be left thinking “why didn’t this ever happen before?” Doom fans, experimental fans, alternative fans, fans of any of the bands that Shrinebuilder is associated with should track down a copy of this and revel in its majesty. Hopefully this release marks the beginning for the band and not the tombstone of a one off project.