Pop Suicide Records
Written, recorded, and performed entirely by himself, Roots is the creative work of Barrie, ON.’s Shane Heath. Furthermore, it is the debut album under the name of Heath’s latest project, Albino Bats. Roots carries a dark, brooding, and industrial vibe to it, making for a unique and strong debut.
Roots opens with the distorted wave of synths and crunching guitars of “Live War”. Fronted by Heath’s vocals, nostalgic in tone to that of a young Trent Reznor, the track shares a vibe with early Nine Inch Nails – think Pretty Hate Machine and Broken. This not only stems from Heath’s strained and throaty vocals, but also elements within the instrumentation. The following track, “Sacrificial Lunch” continues this with the song built over a simple polyrhythmic beat that is layered with a wall of distorted guitars, only breaking momentarily to usher in lush, ‘80s pop-inspired synths.
Roots continues forward with a moody, atmospheric, and aggressive series of songs. Tracks like “A Ship At Sea” and “Let’s Just See” deliver a sense of vulnerability through a sparse soundscape, while “Digging Up Myself” offers a relentless riff that grows more threatening with each repetition. “No One Home” finds a place between the two extremes as Heath explores melancholic melodies that slowly grow from a soft verse into a driving chorus. Among these highlights, “Probable Glitch”, with its stirring bass line and catchy melody, deserves a special mention as being among the strongest tracks on Roots.
Industrial rock is almost entirely synonymous with the ‘90s; however, Heath has found a way to synthesise moody electronic textures with alternative metal musical elements in a way that is equally nostalgic as it is modern. Albino Bats’ debut record, Roots is a visceral album that effortlessly sways from abrasive songs to hauntingly ambient tracks. As a creative project, Roots succeeds at capturing a sense of raw tumultuousness and tension and turning it into a collection of 11 songs in tone with Reznor’s earliest releases.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: ALBINO BATS – ROOTS