|Spineshank - 2012 - Anger Denial Acceptance|
|Spineshank - 2012 - Anger Denial Acceptance|
Alternative/nu-metal from USA, latest full-length album released in 2012.|
Spineshank’s latest release, Anger Denial Acceptance, is a bit of departure from their earlier releases and the first thing I noticed was how raw and under produced the album is overall. It's much different than The Height Of Callousness and Self-Destructive Pattern for example, but in my book this is not necessarily a bad thing; I feel that this kind of thrashy, aggressive metal really benefits from a certain amount of rawness and edginess. Songs like "Murder-Suicide" and "After The End" are the heaviest tracks on the disc and subsequently became my immediate favorites.
The album is not all balls out heavy though, "I Want You To Know" contains tons of melody and has more of an alternative feel to it while "Exit Wound" is a stripped down acoustic/piano type number. Soft moments aside, I feel that Spineshank are at their best on the harder edgier numbers, especially with the production being what it is. That being said, for me there aren't enough of those types of songs on the disc and it sort of became a mixed bag. While there are definitely some tracks (like the two previously mentioned ones) that I will add to my regular rotation, I don’t really feel the others have enough to keep me coming back for more.
Spineshank At MySpace
There’s a time in most people’s lives that they’ve had a person they knew for a period of time, grew to really befriend and suddenly that person, for one reason or another, moved on. Naturally, your life moved along as well, and while you have plenty of other friends that are great, you’ve always wondered what it would be like to have that one person back in your life again. Fast forward nine years and you get an email saying they will be in town and would love to catch up. You meet, and as you start to reacquaint yourselves, you notice just how much has changed. Sure, the friend that you’ve waited so long to see again is sitting right in front of you, and you’re thankful for that, but most of the things that made them who they are have simply vanished. That’s kinda how I feel about Spineshank’s latest album Anger Denial Acceptance.
In the fall of 1998, the Los Angeles natives dropped their highly touted debut Strictly Diesel. While I thought the album was good, it did have its glaring moments of weakness. It showcased a band with a ton of raw talent that desperately needed to be reigned and steered in the right direction. Two years later, Spineshank dropped their landmark record The Height Of Callousness, and the band found their groove. Combining fantastic songwriting alongside punishing (and at times danceable) rhythms with careening electronics and Johnny Santos’ beautifully brutal vocal barrage, THOC propelled Spineshank to the next level and began what looked to be an outstanding career for these Californians. In 2003, Spineshank returned with Self-Destructive Pattern. While this record was more mainstream than THOC, it was a blistering forty minute thrill-ride that contained one infectious hook after another. As a fan, it honestly couldn’t get any better. These guys were cranking out one incredible album after another. Unfortunately though, one year later, the wheels came off as Santos reported that he was leaving due to "musical differences” (subsequently forming Silent Civilian). At that point, fans basically read Spineshank their last rites and bid the once-promising act adieu. Then in 2008, Santos and company announced that they kissed and made up and started working on new material. Four years since then, and nine years since their last album together, Spineshank are back with Anger Denial Acceptance, and I’m not sure that there’s ever been a more appropriate album title for how I feel about a record.
The album’s opener, "After The End”, takes Spineshank immediately on the offensive. Tommy Decker’s berating skins are instantaneously met with Santos’ menacing screams and Mike Sarkisyan and Rob Garcia’s six and four string sonic assault. It’s a menacing start for what is Spineshank’s darkest and angriest album to date.
One of the first things you will notice is this isn’t the Spineshank of old; gone is all the polish. Anger Denial Acceptance is a coarse and unvarnished album that sees the band completely shed their previous sound. With this new rawer take on their sound, you will notice small imperfections throughout the album, especially with Santos’ voice. For the most part, he sounds fantastic (and evil as hell), but there are times where his voice tends to bottom out. It may turn some listeners off at first, but give it time, because it will likely grow on you. Also, for the most part, electronics are used much more sparingly. They’re still there, but they’re used to accent the music instead of being a central focal point.
Tracks like the aforementioned "After The End”, "Anger Denial Acceptance”, "Murder Suicide”, "I Am Damage”, "The Reckoning” and "God Gomplex (Anger)” are the real brawn behind Anger Denial Acceptance‘s aggressive nature. All of these tracks feature skull-crushing musical backdrops infused with loads of melody, big grooves and Santos’ diverse vocal abilities. If these don’t bring blood in the pit, I’m not sure what will.
As you know, you have to take the good with the bad, and this record does have a few tracks that just don’t cut it. From the horribly bland, Jimmy P. Brown II-esque (Deliverance) vibrato-laden vocals in the chorus of "Nothing Left For Me”, and awkward and rather disengaged "The Endless Disconnect”, to the acoustically driven and soulless "Exit Wound”, these tracks never grabbed me no matter how many times I listened.
Never in my life have I experienced an album with a title that described my emotions so perfectly while listening until Anger Denial Acceptance. As I hit play for the first time, my anger got the best of me. This was not the same band that I enjoyed years ago! As the album played on, denial set in as I wondered why their sound was so different. But as the record moved along and eventually ended, I found my eyes opened to what exactly was in front of me. Sure, things may be different and not exactly as I remember them, but that’s okay. Just like with that old friend that sits in front of you after being gone for so many years, it’s not always about who they were but who they are. With that realization, I finally arrived at acceptance.
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