Monday 27 February 2023

Dead Shrine - The Eightfold Path (Album Review)

Release Date: February 24th 2023. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: CD/DD

The Eightfold Path: Tracklisting

The Formless Soul

Kingdom Come

As Pharaohs Rise


Rainbow Child

Through The Constellations

The Blackest Sun

Incantations Call


Craig Williamson - Everything


Heavy Psych Stoner Rock One-Man Band Dead Shrine aims high with their debut album The Eightfold Path. An Acid Rock drenched style of Psychedelic WEEDIAN and DOOMED OUT flavours. This is the new project from Craig Williamson of Datura and Arc Of Ascent fame who has been widely praised within the Stoner Rock/Metal Community for his stellar work with both projects.

Dead Shrine takes a similar approach as those bands but with a more Freaky Psychedelic sound. Craig adds Warped Desert Rock grooves with a classic Doom Rock approach. Imagine if Black Sabbath were a bit more freakier with a sideline of KYUSS  based Stoner Metal sounds. There's an aggressive Classic Hard Rock flow heard within the production values of the album.

Craig also shows his love and appreciation for bands such as The Doors and Pink Floyd within the more classic psychedelic parts of the album that make an appearance early on within the sublime opening songs of The Formless Soul and Kingdom Come. 

The music moves onto more gloomier passages that match the rough and ready vibes of Craig's vocals that do have a twinge of the legendary Californian Desert Rock scene to them. The music is catchy with Punk Based Aesthetics bringing 1960's Psychedelics and 1970's Proto-Doom influences into the overall mix. When you add the Space Rock attitude to Kingdom Come then Craig is really in his element here.

Things become Sludgier and Fuzzier on the third track As Pharaohs Rise. This song has a more Punk environment to it whilst retaining a Psychedelic Stoner/Doom edge to it. Dead Shrine starts to bring wavy Spaced Out Extended jams into the mix which gives the guitars a more central sound to the album. The thumping rhythm section is perhaps the standout part of the track. As they're mostly in the background but make their presence known. 

Fourth song Enshrined offers a more Progressive feeling with the screeching guitars and plenty of guitar reverb being played that elevates the AMPLIFIER WORSHIP style of music to higher levels of distorted volumes. This track does feel like a love letter to bands such as KYUSS and FU MANCHU or perhaps the Californian Desert/Stoner Rock scene itself. The music is vibrant and loaded with PISSED OFF energy. The swirling Space Rock and Ambient sounds allows Craig to become more progressive whilst still retaining a more confident WEEDIAN swagger.

Songs such as Rainbow Child and Through The Constellations become more Blues Rock based with a free-flowing Doomed Out attitude being the main order of business for this part of the album.

Craig embraces his inner SHAMAN on the final two songs of The Blackest Sun and Incantations Call that perhaps remain the best part of the album. You can hear influences such as SLEEP becoming known though the album remains its own thing. A loud and buoyant vocal performance from Craig gets his creative message across though it's the SHAMAN style vocals on Incantations Call that impresses the most. 

The Eightfold Path is an sublime album packed full of attitude and first rate grooves from start to finish. Yeah, the whole feel of the album can be rough and ready in places but that's one of the album's main strengths. This album sounds REAL and has a sense of genuine warmth even if it is made of multiple strong strands of WEEDIAN flavours.

This is an absolute gem of an album and could only come from the Doom/Stoner Metal Underground Scene.

Add this to your record collection now. It's seriously that great.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Dead Shrine for the promo.

The Eightfold Path is available to buy on CD/DD now.


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