One of the biggest stories in the rock world last year was the resurgence of the 1970’s classic rock sound. Your mileage on the band will vary but it’s hard to deny that the rise of Greta Van Fleet was built on taking a classic sound and spinning it for modern audiences. At times it might be sneered at but it’s something that’s happened throughout music history, and it will continue to happen. This is a trend that looks set to continue through 2019 with The Shrine looking to cement a place amongst rock music’s elite.
Although the Venice, California natives have been around for a shade over a decade now, they return heavier than ever with their latest EP Cruel World. Think Black Sabbath mixed with a little Punk influence and you’re basically there. That’s not to mean that it sounds dated by any stretch. Lyrically the EP is as scathing about modern life and modern America as anything you’ll hear all year. Take the title track, and from it the line: “Automatic guns for the children of the land of the free!” it couldn’t be more relevant right now.
From start to finish there’s no let-up in intensity, and the hits just keep on coming. ‘Dance On A Razor’s Edge’ is in your face, abrasive and about as subtle as an elephant falling down the stairs. The group’s Punk sensibilities really shine through on ‘The Taste Of Blood’ as a small nod towards the Sex Pistols creeps into proceedings. While closing salvo ‘She Is Never’ ensures that the EP goes out with a heavy hitting, classic heavy metal bang.
Cruel World is classic yet contemporary. Full throttle, yet nuanced enough to make salient political commentary on the world today. Old meets new, and the results are sensational.