Spineshank - Strictly Diesel.

Another LA new metal band. I’ll admit that was my thoughts here. I’d heard about 5 demo tracks about 6 months ago, and it singularly failed to leave any noticeable impression with me. Admittedly, they were competing at the time with System of a Down in terms of demos from LA bands, and System had the edge in songs and originality. But then, when the chance to grab a promo copy of the album comes along, well, I’m not turning it down. Because maybe the album will make the impression that the demo never did.

And it’s one of those “on the fence” CDs for me. It’s not bad, it’s actually pretty good. All the requirements for current metal are there, samples, angst, the works. But it’s just that it doesn’t really inspire. I seem to find myself these days wondering if I thought the same back in the 80s listening to thrash bands. Were they all so similar, or was there a difference. Are my thoughts these days simply down to me being so much older and so much more cynical. Or is cos I do this zine and think I have to say something rather than nothing. It happens across the genres. New metal, melodic Americana punk, Britrock (yuck, horrible terms one and all).

The cover of the Beatles While My Guitar Gently Weeps just adds to the confusion. It’s done in such a Spineshank manner, that I don’t know, but any emotion that is associated with the original is lost. It leaves me feeling that anything associated with that song is fake, or else that makes the rest of the album fake.

After half a dozen listens, none of the songs have stuck.I can't recall the hooks in any. That's the problem. It's all done well, the angst in the right place, mixing the vocals between the tortured scream and clean, y'know, it's textboook perfect. If I could just remember some of the songs. Well no, that’s not entirely true. I recognise riffs occasionally, but, it’s like I think I’m recognising the riff from another band, and then suddenly I remember that it’s Spineshank that I’m listening to. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not?

At the end of the day, the album, like the demos that I heard fails to inspire me. Maybe it's just that I've found this style of music to be getting a bit stale, and then System if you like, upped the ante and have set the standard. Afraid this doesn't come close.

Their future is assured for the next year at least. After that? Well who knows. Me though personally, I think it’s time I reached for that Earthtone9 CD again And just you lot wait until Milque get that CD out hopefully in January.

Y’know, sometimes, well a lot of the time, I miss old Faith No More. A band to take their standard sound, and throw it out of the window on occasions. Wish more bands would do that. Wish Spineshank would do that.

My recommendation to people? Well, for what it’s worth, which is nothing, it feels to me that if you’ve never tried out this “new metal” thing, then this is as good an introduction as any. It has all the right constituent parts. It’s not the best, it’s not the worst. It epitomises the genre I guess. If you want something that breaks that mould, then I still go for System of a Down.

Oh, and there just might be an interview with them next time round.

Available on RoadRunner Records