I don’t see a lot of heavy-metal concerts … probably because I don’t like heavy metal all that much. But stoner rock — now, that’s something I can get behind once in a while. What’s the difference? Stoner rock is just about as heavy as heavy metal, though at least some of the singers tend to sing, rather than growl or scream.
I’m not sure if Shrinebuilder is heavy metal or stoner rock or some other variety of underground metal, but the group’s self-titled debut album is the sort of hard rock that I actually like — thunderously loud at times, but not continuously screechy. This is a super group of sorts, featuring guitarist Scott “Wino” Weinrich (from Saint Vitus and the Obsessed), drummer Dale Crover (from the Melvins), bassist Al Cisneros (from Sleep and Om) and guitarist Scott Kelly (from Neurosis).
They played their dramatic songs Saturday night (Nov. 14) at the Empty Bottle, but with little of the onstage dramatic flourishes of classic metal bands. They curled their lips in the occasional snarl, but mostly they just pounded away on their instruments. Weinrich, Cisneros and Kelly took turns signing, and Shrinebuilder benefited from the variety of voices.
The opening band at the late show was a good match with Shrinebuilder — the local metal band Yakuza, which stands out from other headbangers by featuring saxophone alongside the typical shredding guitar riffs. Lead singer Bruce Lamont (whom you may recognize from his work as an Empty Bottle bartender) sang with vocal-cord-shredding intensity whenever he wasn’t wailing on his horns. Yakuza’s music included some touches of prog-rock grandeur. And it was loud.