Released: 2000, Attic Records
Guilty pleasures. That's what Spineshank is all about. The best way to describe Spineshank is to cross a slightly more accessible version of Fear Factory and cross it with touches of the nu-metal that's currently tarnishing the metal form. I know that right off the bat that's going to make a lot of you that read this esteemed 'zine groan and skip to the next review, but gimme a minute here.
While Spineshank can certainly be charged with being too nu-metal, they are much heavier than most bands of the nu-metal ilk. Guitarist Souren manages to wring riffs from his guitar that would stop a Korn-clone at 100 yards. The other major plus for the band is that THEY DON'T RAP. Jonny Santos either sings or screams his way through the album without a "yo" or "homey" or "s'up brudda" in sight. And while the music is downtuned, it isn't half as derivative as it could be.
That being said, there are definite problems with this CD. My earlier observation about Fear Factory is a bit too true, to the point of rip-off. Fear Factory is (well, o.k., was) a good, pioneering band, but nothing irritates me more than copy-catting. Basically Spineshank plays Fear Factory-lite with a fraction of the conviction that Burton and co. brought to the table. I can only imagine "Synthetic" or "Height of Callousness" done up right.
On the other hand, there really isn't a truly bad song on the album. Well, maybe "Cyanide 2600" is a bit too teched up. Basically the whole album just rumbles on making the listener nod in mild approval without getting too excited over any one aspect of it. It could be worse. Still, mallcore kidz will probably love this band, but for all the wrong reasons. There is promise in Spineshank, so here's hoping they continue to progress and truly kick ass the next time out. Note: EvilG hates these guys.