Nine Shrines – Retribution Theory3rd May 2019 0 By Aaron Emerson
There has been a lot of talk about Nine Shrines over the past few months. Are they the next best thing? Will they be the flagship of the Groove Metal era or are they just another band that can be placed alongside an already filling catalogue of the genre of today? Whatever they are, they are certainly stirring up a lot of excitement. Their debut EP, Misery came and went without so much as a blip on the radar, but that can not be said for their debut album, Retribution Theory. The build up to the release saw their first single hit with a punch, Nimrod, the opening track of the album kicked up a hornet’s nest of excitement and fervour; here was a sound full of everything we want. Grunt, power and full throttle metal chords. So the big question of course, was, does the rest of the album live up to the expectation that Nimrodgave us?
The biggest question of course is how the infectious aspect of their hit single, Nimrod, compares as a whole; the melodic riffs which bleed into crunching chords through the chorus is hard to match after all. It opens the album so straight from the first chord you’re on a roller-coaster of melodic and pounding vocals with just enough growl to not be over bearing. No Groove Metal track would be right without a bit of a scream and this comes in nicely near the end. Up comes the true test, the title track Retribution Therapy starts where Nimrod finishes, bringing us more crushing riffs, executed with precise blends of melody and infection chorus lyrics that you can sing or growl to. This tends to be a continuing story as the sheer quality of the recording from Mascot Records really sells the album well. The samples used in the tracks are ell thought out and work nicely to add that bit of extra to make the songs stand out from one another and this can be heard through Chain Reaction, Happy Happy and Dead, as well as others. The second single from the album Ringworm doesn’t quite hit the same heights of Nimrod but it really holds its own with its stronger and heavier riffs, that have very clear melodic chorus to heavy verses. This intentional aspect brings it more in line with other bands of the Modern Metal era, such as Shinedown, Breaking Benjamin, The Raven Age and Breathe Atlantis just to name a few.
As the album continues to impress, it comes to the halfway point and the already mentioned Dead gives us a bit of a Judas Priest feel which then hits into a Five Finger Death Punch vibe, and this can be true from the opening track right through the album, it’s an unmistakable 5FDD feel at times, but there are aspects of Godsmack and influences of SOiL and Drowning Pool come through and this isn’t a surprise as they were some of the big hitters of their time and the new bands coming through right now were brought up their sound. Hymn represents some form of interlude to the second half of the album and the rather dark presence of Conjure reeks of aspects of Hinder. Back to basics as Pretty Little Psycho continues the influences of the bands mentioned, the opening chugging riff opens into an addictive chorus line that gets under the skin and to be honest, one of the better tracks of the album for out catchy it is as well as that groove you can just bang your head to. Three more tracks finish off the album with Ghost, Sick Like Me and Counterfeit; the Metalcore aspect of Ghost is much of a muchness and something that you’ll have heard a thousand times before then the more brutal aspect of Sick Like Me comes out to play.
Though it has an edge to its riffs, it still feels more filler than anything else as more of the same Metalcore sound pours out; the final chapter of the album, Counterfeit, on the other hand gives a more aggressive stance with tons of growls and heavy riffs and it certainly gives you a satisfaction that the album ends well. It has that usual melodic chorus that appears in pretty much most new bands but that actually adds more depth to the track.
Well, Nine Shrines certainly has something here; I can certainly see why the hype is there and they could well be one of the big hitters of the scene in years to come; however they are not a polished product yet, it took many a band to hit that perfection, with the exception of Metallica which seem to implode after the Black Album. Nine Shrines have created a fantastic foundation with Retribution Therapy, so it will be interesting to see what their sophomore album with give us. Hype of no, Nine Shrines are definitely a band to watch.
2. Retribution Theory
3. Chain Reaction
5. Happy, Happy
9. Pretty Little Psycho
11. Sick Like Me