May 14th, 2012 | Album reviews

Bless Off demo

Photos and videos of the Shrine always show the boys skating in pools around broken furniture and tattered debris. Listening to the Shrine’s Bless Off demo works well to evoke that same mindset, where the fast-paced dangers in front of you actually slow down time and give you a sense of manic focus. It’s the difference between hippies, taking massive bong hits, and revolutionary freaks snorting the same prepared cannabinoid snuff the Zulu used to knock the shit out of the British. The Shrine are hesitant to call their music “metal,” though that seems the best fit for all the solos going up and down the fretboard, and singer Josh Landau’s occasional falsetto (more of this, please!). But it’s young, very American stuff, the kind that brings a can of spray paint when it leaves the house and owes as much to Black Flag’s My War as that album owes to Black Sabbath, all with a late seventies flair that hints at what could have been in the NWOBHM had been the NWOAHM (look it up). Think “Stone Cold Crazy” by Queen, or the fastest of fast Thin Lizzy, or a more boogie version of Motorhead—true Americana by people who learned it second-hand. Lyrically these songs seem to be first-hand accounts, sticking to angry hangovers, Troglodyte pride, and deceptively insane girls: “She had her head on straight/or so it seemed!” Boy, can I relate. You’ll be surprised at how familiar this music feels, even if most of the trucks and wheels in your life come from dodging traffic on the 10.

—D.M. Collins