Record Review - 2 November 18 2000
In the four years since Spineshank's inception, the L.A.-based extremists have been forming a thick layer of industrial skin built on personal turmoil only hinted at on their debut Strictly Diesel. Though aggressive, Diesel only showed small traces of what the band has now achieved with The Height of Callousness.
Callousness is like a reverse peeling away process that documents the formation of each monstrous layer. Industrial and electronic splashes of the past are now full-on extreme techno-punk/metal blasts of crisp rage with a slash of harsh melody.
Again, the theme is loss of self and humanity within society's delivery system of crushing technology. Apathy and greed clash in a passionate rage against mainstream absorption. All 11 tracks move through the listener like a techno rave transformed into a razor-blade lightshow massacre. "Cyanide 2600" is probably the best example of this, spawning images of a mad DJ pulling the electric chair switch on the listener.
House grooves fueled with a more mature guitar raid ("Synthetic," "Seamless") suggest Spineshank have bypassed the current fads and reached something that might turn the band around the corner for a longer haul. Accessible and harsh, Callousness puts on full display what runs through the hearts of disenfranchised cyber youth everywhere. Vocalist Johnny Santos puts Madison Avenue cultural absorbers on notice: "Never wanted this life, because it's meaningless." Screw the Gap, this is a chasm of extreme prejudice.
Spineshank play the Masquerade, Sun., Nov. 19.