Spineshank – Strictly Diesel – Review


Strictly Diesel (Roadrunner)
by Paul Lee

In an oversaturated metal scene, getting a plug from a major player like Fear Factory’s axe-meister Dino Cezares is a helpful thing. This particular plug comes in the form of an oval sticker on a CD cover with the words: “Music with no limitations for a world with high expectations.” It’s a fair summation of Spineshank‘s Roadrunner debut Strictly Diesel, especially upon realizing these boys are from SoCal and don’t sound like Korn or Coal Chamber.

From their use of distortion and guitar tones, to experimention with electronics, Spineshank aren’t a band content to play monochromatic metal. Guitarist Souran Sarkisyan incorporates clean, trippy, phased guitar alongside different sorts of distortion. Bassist Rob Garcia and drummer Tom Decker keep the rhythms varied and unpredictable and mix hip-hop beats with traditional rock and hardcore rhythms. Johhny Santos is a talented vocalist who can croon like a lounge singer or growl like a hardcore gorilla. With some vocal assistance by the inimitable Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) on “Stain,” Spineshank are in very good company.

There’s no doubt Spineshank have been inspired by bands like Sepultura and Fear Factory, but it’s likely that they’ll continue to form their own musical identity and influence other young bands. A prime example of a modern urban metal band that can’t be plugged into a specific category, perhaps by their next release the name Spineshank will be tossed around as liberally as Korn has been the past few years.
(9229 W. Sunset Blvd. #705 West Hollywood, CA 90069)