Monday, March 25, 2019

NINE SHRINES: "Retribution Therapy"

Rating: RRRR
Label: MascotLabelGroup 2019
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

How many shrines? Nine? Let's pay attention to the band and their offering to the Metal Gods. Nine Shrines blend the extreme elements of active-rock/metal-core with well-crafted, melodic songwriting. This Cleveland (rocks!) quintet arose on the scene in 2014 from the ashes of aggressive Ohio bands like Attack Attack!, Life on Repeat, Downplay and Strangers to Wolves. All band members grew from their previous efforts to build something powerful and slightly disturbing with Nine Shrines. It's more or less melodic metal-core and they are armed with catchy melodies in the style of Bullet For My Valentine vs. the aggressive work of Static-X and Powerman 500.

"Nimrod" is an outstanding opening track though, motivated by revenge and the whole you-shall-not-break-me attitude of the band. The title track, the band's agenda, retribution and therapy, which include lightning fast riffing and dito double bass drumming. "Chain Reaction" is a really fun track. Slightly goofy, quirky, trippy keyboards in the background and Chris Parketny howling upfront. The former Strangers to Wolves vocalist is in fact no stranger to wolves (at all) and any song that howls like this is a winner in my book. "Happy Happy" paints (not to be confused with pants) the sad and lonley picture of the typical outcast and the failure of today's society. The curse of always being on the outside looking in. Darn catchy and fun metal.

Next up is "Dead", a killer metal anthem and I believe the trippy keys are about to break away from the rest of the band. As you get past the half mark of the album, there are some truly wicked tracks, such as the morbid sounding "Hymn/Conjure" which in my humble opinion is Depeche Mode's Violator gone metal. I seriously doubt that's what they had in mind as they wrote the song though. "Pretty Little Psycho", the proper headbanger. "Ghost" slows things down a bit and features the metal boy-band choir and powerful 'oh-woah-oh-woah's. Pretty catchy, I'd say.

Sure. It's hardly groundbreaking stuff and you've heard a lot of this before, but... it's aggressive and catchy, something which is easier said than done. You know, intensifying the power and speed without losing the simplicity of hooks. Tricky business. Nicely produced by Dan Korneff (My Chemical Romance, All That Remains, Papa Roach, etc).

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