Spineshank – Angel Denial Acceptance by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs

Album line-up:
Johnny Santos – Vocals
Mike Sarkisyan – Guitar
Tommy Decker – Drums
Rob Garcia – Bass

Album Tracklisting:
After The End
Nothing Left For Me
Anger Denial Acceptance
I Want You To Know
Murder Suicide
The Endless Disconnect
I Am Damage
Ploratio Morbus
Everything Everyone Everywhere Ends
The Reckoning
God Complex (Anger)
Motive Method Opportunity (Denial)
Exit Wounds (Acceptance)

Making any sort of a comeback is a brave move, especially as such a return usually follows some sort of career or personal misfortune. Leaving it almost a decade to do so could perhaps be considered crazy by some. Although you have to consider that after such a long time it is less a comeback and more a re-launch for a new audience.

Nine years after their third, and highly successful album Self-Destructive Pattern, industrial-nu-alternativists Spineshank have done just that reuniting their former line-up for Anger Denial Acceptance – a brazen new stab at relevancy in a much-changed landscape .

Whilst there will be some who have never heard the Spineshank name, or have forgotten it, the band still have a home on my mp3 player having been a staple in my early youth. As such, the whispers of a new album caused me some internal controversy, as I couldn’t decide whether to vainly hope the band had stayed faithful or just left alone their legacy well alone.

On listening Anger Denial Acceptance doesn’t really bring any firm conclusion to that dilemma . On the one hand there are times when the album feels as though it has been in suspended animation and just picking up where it left off. Melodic ‘Nothing Left For Me’ is what we can now call classic-Spineshank – all angry verses opening into towering choruses, whilst ‘I Want You To Know’ reminds that this is a band that always feel as though they’re dealing with more than anyone’s fair share of loss, frustration and pain.

Then to mix our metaphors, on the flipside tracks like the catchy ‘Murder Suicide’, and pit-raging ‘I Am Damage’ are darker and harsher than memory serves. Title ‘Anger Denial Acceptance’ makes more use of the electronic and industrial tools that Spineshank has in its box, but goes beyond any four walls constructed to hold it, through a staged progression of emotion matched in music. The album comes to a close with three numbers designed to mirror the three states of its title so ‘God Complex (Anger)’ roars like modern-day metalcore before fading into gentle piano and industrial fizz as ‘Motive Method Opportunity (Denial)’ takes a gentler approach, before ‘Exit Wounds (Acceptance)’ builds as such a finale should, but trails out rather than coming to a climax. Maybe they should add frustration to the title.

After nine years to think up new material, it’s no wonder that Anger Denial Acceptance is a hefty 13 tracks long, but the album could maybe do with a little trimming round the edges to feel like a more decisive body of ideas.

Whilst not without its interesting moments beyond nostalgia, sadly for those of us half-wishing for Spineshank to come out storming and show that bands are not nailed to a certain time or place, Anger Denial Acceptance doesn’t shout as loud as needed to reach across a decade.