Who out there remembers Spineshank? You know, they burst onto the scene back in 1998 with their debut album Strictly Business, which was heavily influenced by Fear Factory. The song “Stain” even includes a vocal performance by Fear Factory vocalist Burton C. Bell. They followed that album up with The Height of Callousness in 2000 and even performed on Ozzfest 2001. This album saw the band firing on all cylinders as it was praised by fans and critics. After their Self-Destructive Pattern album was released in 2003, things took a turn for the worse.
Lead singer Jonny Santos parted with the band in 2004 because of the over-used, but in this case very appropriate, term “musical differences”. A new vocalist entered, but things didn’t click. 2008 was a pivotal year as the band not only officially broke up, but later that year they got back together with vocalist Jonny Santos and worked out their differences. That brings us up to 2012 and the band is now signed with Century Media Records and their first album with them entitled Anger Denial Acceptance has just been released.
If you are new to the world of Spineshank, then this is a good point to jump on board. If you are a longtime fan of the band, this new album may just surprise you. The band has a new sense of direction and they are more aggressive than ever on this release. The opening track “After the End” certainly sets the tone for what’s ahead on this album. Santos lets out a roar and Tom Decker starts bashing on the skins and the ride officially begins. Santos sounds great on here with his mixed bag of vocal styles. Mike Sarkisyan starts laying down some might tasty riffs with Robert Garcia laying down a mean bass line that wraps it all together.
Garcia is front and center and laying down a killer bass line on “Nothing Left for Me”, which definitely starts off in a more melodic direction. The chorus has Santos mixing up clean vocals with his growling alter vocal ego. This track isn’t as aggressive, but it shows the band has more layers to them than first believed to. The title track presses the gas all the way to the floor and it’s a full-on thrash fest. Well, that is until the chorus becomes melodic and eases up a bit on the throttle. Decker is a beast on this one as he beats the skins like they owe him money.
“Murder – Suicide” is another great track and it contains some killer and unique riffs. This song has many layers to it as it bounces around different tempos and melodies. This one should be a favorite if included in the live show as it will get a moshpit going in no time. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. “God Complex (anger)” is reminiscent of old school Anthrax. It’s full on aggression with the end of the song being a complete change of pace and direction from the first half.
The album closes with the song “Exit Wound” and will catch many off guard. A song that’s mainly acoustic and piano with its chorus kicking in some thunder as Sarkisyan crashes in on guitar. I can see where this track may turn fans of the heavier stuff off, but I commend the band on thinking outside of the box and showing some diversity on this track.
Overall, this is a really good album from the guys. It’s a bit raw at times and definitely a lot more aggressive than in the past. For older fans, the guys still incorporate the use of electronics, but they seem to do so more sparingly. They pick and choose the spots to add them in and when they do so, it definitely benefits the song without becoming overkill. They have a new label, a new album, a new hunger and a new direction for these guys after being quiet for too long.