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The Height of Callousness

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Album Review

From the midst of the swelling angst, anger, and rage of 20th century music, comes Spineshank, the agro-metal band from Los Angeles. Spineshank's 2001 release, The Height of Callousness, is a super-charged silver bullet of 11 aggressive tracks that will get your blood flowing as if you're engaged in a stock car race gone haywire. Each of the turbo-boost tracks on this album is chock full with a cause or reasons to get fired up about. On the scream-filled track "Asthmatic," a breath-taking tune on which singer Jonny Santos croons, "I never needed your help/I never wanted your help," the band solidifies their views on the polar forces of fear and inner strength while drawing a cynical picture of today's independent, emotionally hardened youth. The furious "Asthmatic" subconsciously melts into the second (and title) track, "The Height of Callousness," an even angrier tune. The listener is swept into a drum-induced fury of piled up, pent up aggression and frustration; and, as if mosh pits weren't dangerous enough, Spineshank's music is certain to take things to an even higher level. Society and humanity are the subject of investigation and scrutiny when Santos sings about how he is "trying to understand/someone like you can sleep at night" on the terse track, "Play God." You have to wonder what he is so angry about when he says, "everything you taught me/gave me immunity to your disease," and defies succumbing to this defiled existence he speaks of. The industrial sound on "New Disease" is reminiscent of shock rocker Marilyn Manson, and Spineshank's powerdrill potency is as disturbing as bands like Pantera and Sepultura. The Height of Callousness is a mix of heavy metal and industrial sounds, sprinkled with pinches of spite and paranoia for societal power and the drowning whirlpools of self-doubt. After all, The Height of Callousness is a lot to swallow, but so is truth; Spineshank's version is just a little rougher going down, so be sure to use a chaser. ~ Kerry L. Smith, Rovi

Biography

Formed: February, 1996

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Los Angeles heavies Spineshank began in February of 1996, rising from the ashes of a previous band, Basic Enigma (which included future Spineshankers Johnny Santos on vocals, Mike Sarkisyan on guitars, and Tom Decker on drums). Basic Enigma broke up upon hearing Demanufacture, the 1996 release by electro-metallists Fear Factory, but soon re-formed with a different sound and moniker, and a new bassist (Robert Garcia). The band soon befriended Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares, who upon hearing their...
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The Height of Callousness, Spineshank
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