As metal begins to eat itself, even the oddest of records can be reduced down to a disdainful game of ‘spot the influence’.
The albums that defy your weary cynicism are the ones that make that game both informative and fun, and Shrines’ gleeful slamming together of disparate inspirations does precisely that. The brainchild of guitarists Sam Loynes and Matthew Adnett (of London-dwelling ne’er-do-wells Voices and Obscene Entity respectively), this is progressive metal in the truest sense; it flows, it mutates, it harnesses the power of borrowed ideas and weaves them into new ones.
There is a healthy amount of death and black metal driving the whole, twisted mêlée forward and few bands this instinctively leftfield and thrashy would bother denying a debt to Voivod, but the likes of the disarming Eternal Return and Broken Man exhibit an oddness that makes every last moment feel almost unsettlingly fresh, as if Loynes and Adnett are playing some fiendish trick on us all by not nestling compliantly into a pre-existing subgenre.
A weird, wild and wicked stick jammed into metal’s madly spinning spokes.