The stoner rock trio from Los Angeles is back with its third full length album, a year after “Bless Off”. I admit that because of the many similar bands that overwhelm the genre, I didn’t have the chance to check them till now. But, better late than never, right?
Initially, we could say that we are dealing with one more stoner band from USA. On the other hand, “Rare Breed” is a release of high quality, that will not pass unnoticed. The opener “Coming Down Quick” comes with a slow dragging doom feeling that quickly evolves into an uplifting stoner n’ roll wave.
Josh Landau’s meaty, fuzzy riffs are combined with his wild vocals and the heavy rhythm section of Courtland Murphy (bass) and Jeff Murray (drums). At first, hey may sound like a lot of the names in the same area, with Clutch and Fu Manchu to be the first that come to mind. But beyond all the similarities that may be found, the band carries out its strong personal style, which is quite rare in the nowadays. Their excellent performances and the passionate feeling that they bring, show that these guys love what they do and that’s what really counts.
The album lasts approximately 40 minutes. During the eleven tracks, THE SHRINE care to keep our interest in high levels by making their sound more diverse from track to track. Thus, we hear some intense punk rock approaches in “Savage Skull and Nomads” and “Acid Drop”, notes of NWOBHM in the solo of “Dusted And Busted”, psychedelic rock references in “Space Steppin'” and pure stoner grooves in my personal favorites “The Vulture” and “Rare Breed “.
Last but not least, the very good production of Dave Jerden (known from his collaborations with Jane’s Addiction and Alice Chains), is perfectly suited to the band’s style. It’s heavy and muddy, while letting all of the instruments to breathe and also including a beautiful 70’s retro rock character.
With “Rare Breed”, THE SHRINE are not reinventing the wheel, but they offer an enjoyable album that will not disappoint you, that guarantees multiple and repeated hearings.
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