Written by Barlovv
> Basalt Shrine – From Fiery Tongues
> Doom/Post Metal
> Released June 13th, 2022
> Order the CD Here
with no origin
like in dreams
with no beginnings
nor a precise end”
The COVID-19 pandemic had varied impacts on folks, for some the isolation and anxiety turned them into giant assholes who drove semi-trucks across Canada and did some white supremacy. For the Philippines’ Basalt Shrine, however, the pandemic drove the creation of art, and resulted in From Fiery Tongues, releasing on June 13th. For those keeping tack, another contender for “Barlovv’s Favourite Album Art of 2022”, and it’s not impossible that it ranks among the best albums overall either.
Shrine are something of a super-group from the understand music scene in the Philippines, made up of Bobby Legaspi (Malicious Birth, Surrogate Prey), Rallye Ibanez (Isvaah, Religious Nightmare, Surrogate Prey), Ronaldo and Ronnel Vivo (The Insekt Life Cycle, Dagtum, Imperial Airwaves, Hateure, Kahugyaw), each band representing seemingly disparate genres that have come together to create something pretty exceptional. Due to community quarantine restrictions in Manilla, the group was not able to play together in person through most of the production of the album, doing the majority of the work remotely – never meeting in person once until the album was completed.
And so, what was the resulting album like? What happens when you put together folks with backgrounds in hardcore, grind, psych rock, death metal, punk, and even a little folk punk, together to put some music out? You get five bangers – that literally had me express how disappointed I was that the album was over, out loud and alone in my car.
There are some wild swings through the five songs, which makes the album feel longer and robust – switching from desolate and droning soundscapes to aggressive black metal, to almost prog-metal sounding pieces that brought to mind bands like Tool (minus the controversy). The album switches back and forth between genres and styles effortlessly, even feeling like some extremely crunchy sludge from time to time. Even with the stylistic changes, the album does feel cohesive and it – to quote myself a whole lot lately – makes Basalt Shrine a band to keep your eyes on.
If I had anything particularly negative to say, it’s that it does feel like we’re getting the first half of a full length album here – with the final track being an 8 minute instrumental that does feel like an interlude more than an ending. Maybe that’s the point, and it’s hard to feel to guilty about the one issue I have with an album being that there isn’t enough of it.
The Bottom Line
2022 is shaping up to be a hell of a year for music, if a terrible one for literally everything else. So while the world collapses around us, at the very least we should have music this good to ring in the apocalypse.