Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Review: Spineshank - Anger Denial Acceptance

 The recent re-emergence of LA quartet Spineshank in their original lineup has sparked not the most positive of reactions from the more sophisticated of metal fans. With the release of their long-awaited fourth album Anger Denial Acceptance many have been thinking mainly "Why are these irrelevant rabble-rousers making a comeback? They should go back to the late 90's to make industrial nu metal and live in the shadow of Marilyn Manson and Korn where they belong?" But, crawling back seems to be the opposite of the band's current ideas. Having signed to Century Media, a label that is undoubtedly involved in all things relevant in metal right now, there isn't much sign of the band stepping back at all.

 And right from the unforgiving smash that opener After the End provides instantly, Spineshank prove pretty well that they're not moving back but are charging forward directly in your face. What's more obvious on this album than any previous releases is the greater influence from the kind of metalcore that was really taking off when the band split up in 2004 and the pulsing display of crunching breakdowns found on the likes of I Want You to KnowI Am Damage and Everything Everyone Everywhere Ends are packed with the hyper charged beatdown of Hatebreed, Throwdown and Demon Hunter that forcefully enhances the power of Mike Sarkisyan's needle spiked riffing, as it does on the groove laden Murder Suicide which charges gallantly with all guns blazing.

 The electronic elements of Spineshank that gave them their industrial metal title in the 90's is less on offer on Anger Denial Acceptance but when it makes it's appearance supporting the already stone rooted pounce of  The Reckoning the extra depth and tenseness it adds to the overall effect is awe-inspiring. When the electronic elements are fully focused on in interlude Ploriato Morbus proves that the ability to summon up a cold soundscape is still possible by the band's standards.

 But amongst all the hardcore madness, the band still make the time to craft more melodic emotional moments into their songs. One has the ability to get confused when Jonny Santos unleashes his clean vocals to smoother verses. It's hard to tell wether he sounds awkward at these moments and it doesn't really support the song itself or if these moments are him trying to sound uncomfortable and at emotional unease in a Jonathan Davis kind of way but when powerful choruses are unleashed on the storming title track and The Endless Disconnect, there is a most sincere impact.

 All of this comes together in the closing set of songs on the album, comprising of God Complex (Anger), Motive Method Opportunity (Denial) and Exit Wound (Acceptance) which seamlessly flows from rabid hardcore fury to unsettling industrial soundscapes to emotionally draining metal balladry. It's a flawless performance that really sums up the main goals of Spineshank which they seem to be looking to deliver once again frequently.

 While still looking to stand by my claim that nu metal is long dead, not only is it surprising to see Spineshank make a return in 2012, but to see them make a return on top form sounding more refreshed and inspired than ever is an entirely different phenomenon. With a new influence from the traditional metalcore scene rather than the simple riffs of nu metal, Spineshank use Anger Denial Acceptance to pick up where they left off stronger than ever.

Spineshank's Anger Denial Acceptance is out now via Century Media.

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