Strictly Diesel


Roadrunner Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Sandra Gilraine


I've always had a taste for the harder side of music, so when an acquaintance recommended the band Spineshank, I promptly headed out to the nearst music supplier and bought Spineshanks' first album Strictly Diesel, released in 1998 on Roadrunner Records. Upon first listen, I was not impressed. Harsh drum beats, power chord guitar riffs and electronic bleeps add a certain something to the general feel of this powerhouse quartet, but this album as a whole hasn't jumped out at me as THE underground metal album of the current era.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Granted this does seem to be an experimental album for the band, and from the research I've done on the band, there wasn't a single released from the album that was really pushed. They had a few small mentions in Kerrang! magazine but they quickly fell into the melee of another one of "those" bands. Jonny Santos' vocals are of the quality that switching quickly and constantly from gutteral screaming and howling to full-vocaled note-holding without so much as a crack, but Santo's vocals are drowned out by Souren "Mike" Sarkisyan's Guitar riffs. The perfect tone in the songs seems the complimenting bass riffs dealt out by Rob Garcia, and harmonize with the guitar and vocals brilliantly. Tom Decker's drum fills and electronic sampling add the perfect amount of new-age-feel to the music, which in itself separates it from the mass of bands trying to make it big in recent years in this genre.

The most powerful song on the album is "Where We Fall", and probably the only one I'll so much as tap my foot along to. Santos' vocals dominate the song, and as well they should. There's minimal gutteral wailing, and more flowing straight-from-the-stomach singing, which is certainly what I appreciate most. "Where We Fall" stands out from the rest of the songs, the guitars are different from the average three-power-chord songs and the lyrics are about someone else for a change, instead of describing how black the lyricist always feels inside.

The worst song is Spineshank's rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". I assure you, there is no gentle weeping happening in this cover, they might as well have renamed the classic Beatles tune "While My Cat Painfully Dies". The song is a disgrace to the original, and has gone beyond experimentation, it's just pure brutality.

Are Spineshank likely to become a top ten of hard-metal? Not likely, unless they learned a hard lesson from the feedback of the release of Strictly Diesel.

Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2002 Sandra Gilraine and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Roadrunner Records, and is used for informational purposes only.