April 22, 2019 Nine Shrines – Retribution Therapy (Album Review)
Back in 2017, a little-known Ohio band called Nine Shrines released a very impress self-produced EP called Misery. Now, back with their debut full-length, the band are delivering Retribution Therapy to the masses on April 26, 2019, thanks to Mascot Records.
Arising from the ashes of their previous projects to join forces in 2014, Cleveland, Ohio’s Nine Shrines blend the most extreme elements of Active Rock and Metalcore with well-crafted, melodic songwriting. Their aforementioned debut EP, Misery, surpassed one million Spotify streams, and “King of Misery” made it to rotation on SiriusXM Octane. These successes allowed the band to share stages with the likes of Volbeat, Halestorm, Chimaira, Shinedown, All That Remains, and Nonpoint, while building anticipation for their full-length debut across the globe.
Now poised to deliver that very debut, Nine Shrines – Vocalist Christopher Parketny (formerly of Strangers To Wolves), Guitarists Andrew M. Baylis (formerly of Life On Repeat) and Evan McKeever (of Downplay), Bassist Devon Voisine, and Drummer Andrew J. Wetzel (formerly of Attack Attack!) – present to the world their brand of Retribution Therapy. Produced by Dan Korneff (Breaking Benjamin, Motionless In White), the 12-song debut full-length disc combines a million facets of heavy music to author a sound that is fully unique to Nine Shrines.
Retribution Therapy opens with “Nimrod,” and no, it’s nothing related to Green Day. Instead, the band explodes into a heavy, melodic revenge rocker with bold, arena-ready guitars and crunchy rhythms. It’s enticing and keeps the listener’s ears piqued as the boys slam into the thrashing, titular “Retribution Therapy,” which provides one killer guitar solo and some seriously grooving, violent tendencies.
Edgy “Chain Reaction” provides a multi-layered, gritty guitar approach that segues perfectly into the explosive Metal rage of “Ringworm.” Throughout, Parketny actually has some echoes of Disturbed’s David Draiman in his vocals. Initially, one might want to deem this an anti-religion rant, however, more accurately, the track explores the abuse of power within religious institutions. Next, “Happy Happy” opens to synths that hook you in and drag you down into an earworm anthem for the freaks that are learning to love themselves and their individuality.
They go gritty for “Dead,” an eerie rocker-stomper that finds Nine Shrines dead on the inside with some delicious Horror vibes. At just over a minute, “Hymn” is a guitar and vocal interlude that connects its predecessor to “Conjure.” Here, the band utilizes a familiar nursery rhyme to build into their sinister, bass-heavy, seductive groove rocker. Then, drums build into “Pretty Little Psycho,” a soaring, catchy rocker that will have fans singing-along after one listen.
Power ballad-esque “Ghost” goes for the emotional, exploring longing, loneliness, and finding the balance between the touring life and home. While “Sick Like Me” might immediately bring to mind the In This Moment song of the same name, this is not that. Instead, Nine Shrines go a little funky on the verses before exploding into those immediately arena-ready, sing-along choruses. Ultimately, they end with the massive explosion of “Counterfeit,” allowing Nine Shrines to go out with a bloody bow.
A phenomenal debut, Retribution Theory proves that Nine Shrines is a name to know. Fraught with exceptional musicianship and Parketny’s impressive vocal prowess, the collection fluidly blends a zillion influences to meld one unique, Alt Metal sound. In fact, you don’t have to strain to hear notes of everything from old-school Metallica to Rob Zombie, Breaking Benjamin to Bring Me the Horizon. Indeed, the disc proves that Nine Shrines have the mettle (and Metal) to compete with the upper echelon of today’s hard rockers while paying a wonderful homage to their forebears. Using their music as retribution, as catharsis, Nine Shrines make Hard Rock that throttles. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock give Nine Shrines’ Retribution Therapy 4.5 of 5 stars.