The Shrine – Primitive Blast [10 out of 10]

By Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal

LA-based psychedelic violence rock ‘n roll trio The Shrine are ready to release their new album “Primitive Blast”, and honestly speaking, it feels exciting to listen to this album now, after having seen the band put on some thoroughly impressive performances and owning the stage amongst the likes of Kyuss Lives, The Sword and Graveyard over the past few months. When I talked to the band at the Kyuss show last November, they had already written and recorded this album, but it was in the form of a demo called “Bless Off”, which they released for free listening on SoundCloud, sold tapes of, and of course performed live. It’s heartening to see that one of the most outstanding rock acts in today’s scene is now signed to Tee Pee Records, who will ensure the proper release this set of tunes deserves.

To start with, this version sounds better than the demo. Although the demo had an element of rawness to it that perfectly suited The Shrine and sounded almost exactly like a live album, I think the new version retains much of that rawness while enhancing the overall quality to make it more presentable as a recording. The guitars, vocals and drums sound relatively cleaner, and the bass retains its fuzz. The 2010 self-titled debut and the “Bless Off” demo have played an important part in gaining an underground fanbase for the band so far, but “Primitive Blast” album is the first real representation of what this band is all about.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with The Shrine, the term “psychedelic violence rock ‘n roll” is by no means a pretentious exaggeration, because this is really the most apt way to describe the band’s music. The manner in which they fuse elements of classic rock ‘n roll, punk and heavy metal is the single biggest strength of their music. That’s where the term comes from, and each of the nine songs on here proves its validity.

The first track “Zipper Tripper” sucks you in with its opening riff itself, and never lets go. The album only gets better from there, and actually saves its best for last, because I definitely think “Deep River (Livin’ To Die)” is the best track on the album. It has the kind of intro that could have very well made it the opening track, but it’s interesting that it’s the closing track instead. It makes perfect sense, because in a way it gives the album a restart. After listening to “Deep River”, chances are that you’d be compelled to go back over to “Zipper Tripper” and listen to the album again. Its total duration of 31 minutes and 46 seconds is also just about perfect for capturing the vibe of this type of music, and indeed great for repeated listening. Other than “Deep River”, I’d say “Whistlings Of Death” and the title song itself are some of the highlights of the album, because these tunes showcase more of the rock ‘n roll aspect. There are others like “Louise” and “Wasted Prayer” that demonstrate the punk side a bit more, but more than anything, the album boasts of killer guitar riffs throughout. The music revolves around these riffs, and I’m sure you’ll agree with that when you hear this amazing record.

In the form of “Primitive Blast”, The Shrine have come up with a record that will satiate a lot of music listeners across the board. Whether you’re skating through the streets of Los Angeles, or smoking a few joints at home, or simply ready to rock out, this album will provide you an excellent soundtrack for whatever activity you’re indulging in. It’s almost exactly like how Black Sabbath would sound if they infused a bit of punk into their sound, or like Black Flag with a touch of classic rock ‘n roll. Whichever way you look at it, The Shrine have delivered what could turn out to be the album of the year.

Rating: 10/10

Record Label:Tee Pee
Release Date: July 10th 2012

Track Listing:
1. Zipper Tripper
2. Whistlings of Death
3. Freak Fighter
4. Run the Night
5. Primitive Blast
6. Louise
7. Wasted Prayer
8. Drinking Man
9. Deep River (Livin’ to Die)


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