Despite a brief flirtation with the Century Media label, the decade-long career of Los Angeles grease punks The Shrine has sailed largely deserted seas. As the line-up has grown, however, so has the power of the band’s sound, with new EP Cruel World (Annihilator Records) adding motorised elements to their sleazy Heavy Rock base.Continue reading
I’ll level with you all now: I’m not the biggest fan of Aussie quartet Mammoth Mammoth and their raucous, ‘Eddie and the Hot Rods with added beef’ style of Punk rock meets Stoner. It’s great in the background of your local rock pub, though, and true to form ‘Life’s A Bitch’, the opening track of third album Volume IV – Hammered Again (Napalm), fair rattles along. The ensuing ‘Lookin’ Down the Barrel’ contains a seedy riff reminiscent of compatriots AC/DC, and while there’s a slower pace than its predecessor it carries high that retro Blues metal feel, oozing a snarling attitude; the full production aiding a sound akin to Jet‘s older, heavier and just as sexually confident brother.
There is a swagger for sure, the crunching riffs and engine grease of ‘Electric Sunshine’ accompanied by thundering drums and a cocksure vocal sneer, occasionally carrying Hetfield-esque intonations. The rolling, driving riff of ‘Fuel Injected’, meanwhile, bumps and grinds along a dirty desert road: gasping, pouring in sweat like the meanest Harley you ever saw, hunting voraciously for his Mrs. Davidson. The savage power of ‘Black Dog’, its rapidly chopping yet groove-ridden riff imbued with a lead solo, possesses a gravelly intoned yet heartfelt vocal – which comes as something of a shock.
For all the driving rhythms, fulminating sound and sexy insouciance, the band’s delivery has in the past been missing real feeling, a sense that their creations actually mean something to them. Tracks like ‘…Dog’ express that sense of emotional attachment which allows the listener to really engage, making this album a more complete experience. That sleazy boogie stomp reappears toward the latter end, however, at the expense of all the silly emotional stuff: the dirty leads of ‘Sick (of Being Sick)’ snaking around the dancing, brutal groove.
Indeed, the band’s final attempt at concentrating on wistful meanderings, album closer ‘High as a Kite’, is a clunky and overlong, often prosaic way to end. Maybe it’s just miserable old me: maybe it’s time indeed to let party infect the Low End. Victor Meldrew here, The crimson Avenger, prefers otherwise…