Plagued by seemingly endless delays in production and release dates for the better part of the last three years, SPINESHANK have at long last released their third and most developed album, Self-Destructive Pattern.
With not a second to lose, the album pummels the listener with a series of audio kicks to the head with “Violent Mood Swings,” the band’s most abrasive opening track to date. Fans will remember the kickoff brutality of “Asthmatic,” but “Violent Mood Swings” is a rhythmic, pounding slab of aggro-metal that knocks you down and is hell-bent on not letting you up.
Tommy Decker’s drums have never sounded better, as the opening fill to single “Smothered” aptly proves, adding extra panache to that standout track; while frontman Johnny Santos screams, croons and howls with the best of them, marking his vocal work just as mature as the rest of the band has become.
As if further proof was needed on that subject, one listen to “Beginning of the End” (also featured on the Freddy Vs. Jason soundtrack) will drive that point into the ground, with the goddamned catchiest chorus SPINESHANK has ever written: “I don’t ever wanna be the one to make you forget it/I don’t ever wanna be the one to make you resent it/I don’t ever wanna be the one to make you repress it…”
Guitarist Mike Sarkisyan and bassist Robert Garcia work seamlessly together on all tracks, namely the fleeting opening to “Fallback” and the interesting industrial intro to “Stillborn.” Unfortunately, the album does sound just a bit too perfect in parts, with the production undoubtedly being a step above previous release “Height of Callousness,” but perhaps too far above. Fans will inevitably cite SPINESHANK for slightly softening their sound, but if it sounds this good all the time, most won’t have room to complain. (Roadrunner Records)