ALBUM REVIEW: Nine Shrines – Retribution Therapy

Ohio rockers Nine Shrines‘ spirited intent to dominate the rock realm pursues in their latest record Retribution Therapy, broadly blending between the extremities of metalcore and euphonious melodic songwriting. Surfacing in the music scene in 2014, the Cleveland cohort is derived from members of nostalgic noughties alternative artists Attack Attack!, Downplay, Life on Repeat and Strangers to Wolves, arising as the new Nine Shrines moniker. From making their mass mainstream breakthrough – Nine Shrines‘ 2017 debut EP Misery featured successful single King of Mercy which surpassed a staggering 1.7 million Spotify streams – to sharing the live stage with the likes of All That Remains, Halestorm and Shinedown, Nine Shrines are stepping out with repressed angst, articulated in the ruthlessly incendiary Retribution Therapy. 

Gearing up for the explosive endeavours on the Mascot Records release, the nefarious Nimrod‘s ghoulish and gruesome voodoo doll video taps into the track’s sinister sounds. Chris Parketny‘s low register of his vocal palette is paired with spine chilling guitar riffs, sending shockwaves to the senses. Side-by-side with a vengeance of thrashing drums and vigorous vocals, Parketny’s harmonisation curates a chorus of memorable melodic hooks, juxtaposing the shocking mixed symphonic styles of the song.

Upping the tempo is the quick-paced Retribution Therapy, which relishes in the remedy of pressurising a person to pay the price for their reckless actions. The authoritative tones of the vocals play an inferior counterpart to the all-dominating high volumes and heavy distortion of Andrew Baylis’ and Evan McKeever’s guitars, besides Andrew Wetzel’s bold and brazen percussion, merging to make a fiery force of immense instrumentation on the title-track.

A minimal introduction, Chain Reaction‘s tame tension between grating guitar work and a coarse vocal performance makes for a maximum verse and chorus combo. An onslaught of climacteric basslines by Devon Voisine, deeply dexterous singing, high frequency guitars and tapping hi-hats curate a Chain Reaction of relentless instrumentals. The vocals cascade, that croon rhyming lyricism of foul play antics and own-back behaviour: “My pulse increased/My mind’s release/Your soul, my feast/When I see red/You’ll wish you’re dead/So speak your peace” and “I let you get underneath my skin/ You’re a cheap shot mortal sin/You can take me for a spin/But in hell I always win.”

Packing a sonic punch, Ringworm works in heavy vocals, intricate guitars and melodic choruses to deliver a lyrically leading track. On the surface, the sacred songwriting addresses a religious realm, questioning the practice what you preach procedure of devotees to holy institutes. In contempt of its constructive criticism, the lyrics are non-anti-religion. Reiterating the songs subjective representation, Parketny promises “The song is specifically about the abuse of power in religious institutions. I was born and raised Catholic and went to Catholic school most of my life. I often find myself questioning the legitimacy of these leaders. This song is not to be confused with anti-religion. The problem lies not with the infallibility of God, but the fallibility of men who speak on his behalf.”

From fighting for one’s life to a deceased inner self, Dead denotes morbid dealings with demons and pain. Paired with co-ordinated crashing cymbals and raging riffs, the track’s topical themes of a gruesome decease share similarities with subsequent songs Conjure‘s gory words and Sick Like Me‘s death inflicted narrative. Seemingly, Nine Shrines‘ songwriting addresses matters atypical to the metal genre’s core characteristic of dark and deep lyricism, letting the band lean on an eloquent emit, clear as centreman Chris Parketny concedes, “We approach these songs with a real sense of catharsis. This is a huge outlet for us to vent.”

Returning to the five-piece’s metalcore/hardcore realm, Counterfeit‘s catchy melodic choruses, screamo-esque sonorous singing and sonic waves of sharp shrills showcase the skills of Retribution Therapy producer Dan Korneff, previously putting together pieces for All That Remains, I Prevail and My Chemical Romance. Moreover, Counterfeit‘s intense production creates a maniacal mix, to portray the record’s renowned pent-up ferocity.

Retribution Therapy relentlessly throws together high tempo verses and down tempo choruses, coalescing core characteristics; from Chain Reaction‘s positively rasp vocal harmonisation to the pitfalls of Counterfeit‘s sonically vexatious instrumentation. In defiance of the debut full-length’s downfalls, Nine Shrines’ dead-set style seems significantly paramount to Retribution Therapy‘s years in the making. Andrew Wetzel concludes “Our whole career, everything we’ve been doing for the last five years, has been building to this record. We wanna infect you, and we want you to celebrate the work we’ve done.”


Standout Tracks: Nimrod, Chain Reaction, Conjure 

For Fans Of: As Lions, SHVPES

Written by: Katie Conway-Flood

Tags : Nine Shrines
Katie Conway-Flood
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