The Shrine’s last outing ‘Bless off’ was the right side of heavy, with ‘Rare Breed’ they continue to cross borders with their love of rock ‘n’ roll, US punk and a touch of stoner and psychedelic added for a complete collection of their influences. From the opening punked up ‘Coming Down Quick’ the band hit full flow, although admittedly for me, it’s not until the title track ‘Rare Breed’ that the real quality really starts to come through. This track is more like heavy stoner, blasting heaviness coupled with an infectious groove (not the band!) thing going on. ‘Acid Drop’, as the name suggests, is a trippy go lucky track with plenty of opportunities to mix both the brash punk with some grooves.
The centre section of the album is a cavalcade of the same with a guitar solo track ‘Pull the Trigger’, not quite Van Halen’s ‘Eruption’, but it peppers the pallet. Within this centre section also, if you think of removing the distortion from the guitar, I think you will find some mid-70’s Alice Cooper influences here too, well for me, I find them anyway, a classic approach with some eerie parts here and there, although the PR blurb states Captain Beyond are an influence, but that’s not on my radar so I’ll stick with what I know! The closing ‘Space Stepping’ finishes off the release nicely, but that’s just it for me, it’s a “nice” release, there’s nothing too abrasive to shout about, albeit when it is of damn fine quality I have to say.
If you liked their earlier material, this will please, but I was wanting something with a touch more bite in the low end stoner sense, however, that’s just me. From gutter hardcore rock ‘n’ roll, the filthy and the fury to the tripped out delivery of some of the tracks, ‘Rare Breed’ has something for most whom rejoice in this mixed bag of styles.
(6.5/10 Paul Maddison)