Anger Denial Acceptance
Acceptance? Well, if you really want me to speak the truth...
You know how some things are best laid to rest? Well, I really think Spineshank should be in that category. Let’s take a look at their history. Prior to this point, it only spans three albums over the course of five years. Born of the formative years of nu-metal and its ilk, their debut – 1998’s Strictly Diesel – showed some promise but in all reality, no one could have expected their all important sophomore effort to deliver the goods and then some. 2000’s The Height of Callousness surpassed all expectations. Well written tracks that effortlessly walked that fine line between groove and aggression lifted the band’s profile in the ranks of the nu-metal world. But 2003’s Self Destructive Pattern perhaps should have been an omen for the group by title alone if nothing else. The material lacked the character of the songs that made up the previous long player and within a year of its release, the band disintegrated.
The reformation of Spineshank is one that I never saw happening for no other reason than the simple fact that I really didn’t think they had much more to bring to the metal table. So, after nine long years when album number four took me by surprise by landing in my inbox, to say that I was surprised is an understatement. Sadly, for Spineshank at least, it seems that my gut instinct on this band and a new album was pretty much spot on.
It seems that not much has changed as far as Spineshank 2012 is concerned. After the lack lustre Self Destructive Pattern, the very dry sounding Anger Denial Acceptance feels as though they are trying to recapture the finely tuned balance of The Height of Callousness but they are coming up short. The end result is a baker’s dozen of tracks that reek of that all too familiar Spineshank story screamed vocals, clean singing, aggro parts, melodic/gentle parts. All in all, they sound uninspired for the most part.
There was an urgency and ferocity to the tracks on The Height of Callousness which defined the band for me. The title track from that album backed with the brilliantly aggressive and infectious Synthetic and the catchy New Disease were the pure definition of what I expect from this Los Angeles (California, U.S.A.) based group. In brutal contrast, the opening cut of the group’s most recent album kind of returns to that former level of glory but it’s missing something. It just doesn’t quite cut it. Things are not helped by the predictable switch to clean vocals which you could just about set your watch by.
Anger Denial Acceptance – I’m really not sure what the group is alluding to with that title. Maybe it’s something for the fans and the ups and downs – both band wise and music wise – that they have gone through or even they are putting us (the fair listener) through. Regardless if there’s just one thing I can take away from listening to the band’s fourth long player, it’s the simple fact that this album further reinforces just how good The Height of Callousness is by comparison. This one really is for the few diehard Spineshank fans who are still hanging on to everything and anything that the band may put together after all these years. For the rest of us, there’s nothing to see here – move along.
Century Media Records/EMI Music Australia
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