Material: Founded in 2014 and featuring members of Cocked ‘N Loaded, Black Thai, Tired Old Bones and We’re All Gonna Die, intense metal is the exclusive realm of this take-no-prisoners trio. While Shatner’s songs struggle to incorporate melodic elements, that feature plays a distant second fiddle to their extreme aesthetic of loud on loud. Listeners craving a hard ‘n heavy sound will have that itch well scratched after absorbing one of Shatner’s scorched earth onslaughts.
Musicianship: Assessing Shatner’s technical abilities proves quixotic—their style seems crafted to disguise whatever inherent talent they might be endowed with. Signs point toward their understanding the value behind songwriting fundamentals, yet the group’s modus operandi of slathering an oppressive layer of distortion and chaos theory atop every moment renders unthinkable the notion of exiting the club with a melody stuck in one’s head. Singer Healy’s lyrics remain indecipherable, yet the band’s admirable intensity, coupled with splendiferous guitar excursions, does much to elevate their set.
Performance: Shatner overwhelm fans via sonic tornado, over-delivering on the promise of ear-shattering pandemonium. Regretfully, that objective has become an end unto itself, the band having evidently become comfortable allowing that style to carry the weight of their entire catalog. Little is offered by way of visual stimuli and they place only light emphasis on audience interaction. While their drums sport a prominent logo, the design is both uninspired and incongruous to their ethos.
Summary: Shatner can elicit enthusiastic responses from limited crowds, but that audience won’t expand unless they start crafting memorable hooks. Healey’s vocals are smothered under uncompromising layers of nuclear assault, and the peaks and valleys that might add weight to their compositions prove absent. Shatner serves an intense rush of adrenaline that quickly dissipates, leaving the casual listener with little more than an intense ringing in one’s ears. Expanding their stylistic repertoire and allowing their tunes ample breathing room would go far toward raising this devil’s horns.
The Players: Jim Healey, vocals, guitar; Jesse Sherman, bass; Rob Davol, drums.
Photo by Andy Kaufmann
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