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Best Policy Music

Music Reviews

Sheol — Shrine of Malice

by Ichabod Broccoli

This is probably the heaviest thing I’ve ever heard.

Shrine of Malice wowed me with their “Hollow Sockets” video, and now the full-length Sheol has backed that up with an intense, “brutal” onslaught of heaviness.

From the opening dissonant chords of “The Awakening” you know a heavy drop is coming. Forty-eight seconds in you are not disappointed. At about the one-minute mark, Josh Null’s unbelievable coordination kicks in and you’re rattling down a bumpy road at 90 miles an hour. The schizophrenic vocals of Gregory Gilbert go from a throaty growl to a painful-sounding scream, evoking a range of psychosomatic responses, not excluding dread and deep concern.

“Kiss of the Wind” makes me think of the recent wildfires, blowing from tree to tree, leaving devastation in its wake. In this case, though, it’s a fire you want to keep burning.

Track after track, this album, with the low tuning, the monstrous vocals, and the machine-like drums (I think a DR-880 would struggle to keep up), delivers something so hardcore yet accessible that I can listen to it again and again. There’s something transfixing about it. I think “transfix” is the right word to use, as it’s defined as:

  1. cause (someone) to become motionless with horror, wonder, or astonishment. “he was transfixed by the pain in her face”
  2. pierce with a sharp implement or weapon. “a field mouse is transfixed by the curved talons of an owl”

So, yes, that.

I don’t usually listen to this kind of music, and I can’t even pretend to know what the lyrics are, but it’s good. It makes you want to ask, “who hurt you?” At the same time, you think, “can they do it some more? This is awesome.”

Shrine is a cult. Join it.

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