Spineshank - Anger Denial Acceptance (2012)8/10
The wait has come to an end. One of the best bands in the genre, the absolutely amazing Spineshank, released a new statement after 9 years of silence. And this is one of those statements that can be easily misunderstood. Anger Denial Acceptance is far more complex than most of Spineshank fans (including me) could have ever expected. And it’s a really hard nut to crack, but one has to do so to unveil the beauty of this record.
When it first came out, I was, like many others, bepuzzled. Spineshank is one of those straightforward acts not expected of doing things in a different way, and Johny Santos only proved his straightforwardness with his other project, Silent Civilian, which is a classical, great sounding melodic metalcore act. So coming up with a concept album was a dare already… yet the guys took it much, much further than that.
People tend to dislike the album, yet they can’t understand why. The reason, actually, is that the band has a different chemistry going on between them now. Like or not, but 11 years have passed since the release of their great, The Height of Callousness. Back then, Tommy (the drummer) wrote more than a half of the lyrics and did programming, other guys wrote the music, and Johny spitted out genius (yet simple and catchy) vocal tracks, mixing his unique growling/screaming vocals with his astonishingly catching clean vocals. He didn’t play at live shows, even though some songs sounded really dry when played without rhythm guitar. Johny was the singer. And then he left. Silent Civilian had Santos shown in a different angle - the guitar playing singer/songwriter. Spineshank is a band where each and every member is indispensable. Silent Civilian is backed by Johny’s mastermind, he’s the one and only member of the band that matters. So, of course, after releasing two great albums with Silent Civilian, Johny returned. Only he can’t be just a singer anymore. This shift had to move the band forward. Spineshank can’t stay the same anymore - because it’s members aren’t the same people anymore. They have matured, and the sound has to mature as well.
Yes, Spineshank doesn’t sound the same on Anger Denial Acceptance. Moreover, you can clearly hear the Silent Civilian sound in most of the songs. There are even guitar solos here and there!!! So the album can sound like a mess, and, to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it on the first listen. I actually forced myself to listen to it a couple more times. And then it hit me! I just needed to change my approach to see the beauty of this release.
First of all, this is an album that is expected to be listened to more than one time. The songs are connected, both musically and lyrically, to each other, but not in an obvious way. You have to get accustomed to the sound and start recognizing the songs a little bit, so that you can trace all the clandestine interlinked references, and when you do, you’ll start understanding what the whole record is about. And it all really makes sense.
Except for a lousy instrumental (“Ploratio Morbus”), the tracks are pretty great and not reeking of filler material. “After The End” opens the record with an energetic blast and is enough to keep you interested ‘till you hear the second part of the title track. It sounds really personal, so personal that it hurts, and that’s where I got hooked. Don’t mind the new sound, it’s good old Spineshank here - ripping the heart out and showing us the wound. “I Want You To Know” is reminiscent of half of the songs off Self-Destructive Pattern, which is great, and “Murder Suicide” is easily one of the top Spineshank tracks. The last three tracks give us the key to the album’s concept by connecting what could be merely a bunch of songs together and giving them a meaning. “Exit Wounds (Acceptance)”, which is a continuation of “Anger Denial Acceptance”, is probably the first Spineshank track to incorporate a certain amount of acoustic guitar… and it is neither a ballad nor sucks. It hurts you, yes, but it’s brilliant.
I would have never believed that Spineshank, as a band, was capable of such a huge leap forward. Yes, Anger Denial Acceptance is a pretty raw album. Spineshank is like a comic book superhero that has just acquired his superpowers but is not that sure of how to use them in an efficient way. Dare I say, when Spineshank will get used to the shift of the band members’ chemistry, they will release one of the best records in nu metal - a record that will top even their early works. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. And so should you.
Review by: Ace D
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