Review Summary: As a Spineshank fan, Anger Denial Acceptance are the exact stages you’ll endure whilst listening to this album.
During the early 2000’s the metal scene was arguably dominated by nu-metal bands that seem to appear by the dozen, one of whom are today’s subject. Spineshank had good success during the period of nu-metal with the album “The Height of Callousness” which had hits such as “New Disease” and “Synthetic”. Their follow up “Self Destructive Pattern” saw Spineshank refine their sound and achieve further success, even earning themselves a Grammy nomination for the song “Smothered”. However soon after singer Santos left the band and after spending four years finding a new vocalist and producing material, it was announced that the band had split. However they reformed that same year with previous singer Santos and four more years later they finally released “Anger Denial Acceptance”, sadly it’s not worth the lengthy waiting period.
Right from the beginning many of the issues that this album has are found in the opener “After The End”. For a start the industrial sound that Spineshank had heavily implemented on previous albums is hardly anywhere to be heard on this record. There are certain songs that have certain synth elements to them such as the shrill sound on “The Endless Disconnect” but nothing that feels inherently Spineshank and given that the heavy emphasis on more industrial elements was one of the defining features of Spineshank, it acts as a detriment to the album overall. Also there is a distinct lack of any memorable moments as a whole. Previous albums always had catchy elements to them whether it be a riff or more often than not the chorus, there was always something usually that made songs memorable in their own way. “Anger Denial Acceptance” has little if any of these moments. As previously mentioned the stripping of the industrial sound has the adverse effect of making the album sound very homogeneous, most songs just seem to blend into each other which creates fatigue and drags the album into feeling longer than it actually is. You’ll more than likely have heard everything that this album has to offer at around two thirds of the way through.
There’s also the disconcerting feeling that the band is trying really hard to stay relevant in the modern scene. There are one or two breakdowns to be found on this album that just sound hopelessly generic and almost laughable, also there’s a three part track at the end that tries really hard to be epic but sounds just as generic as the rest of the album and acts as a rather poor closer. There’s also a real issue with the albums pacing. It appears as though the album is almost separated into two different sections, the first being light almost radio friendly and the second being heavier and sort of experimental. The album is front loaded with these softer songs such as “Nothing Left for Me” and “I Want You To Know” which contain a load more clean vocals than what is traditionally found in a Spineshank song, this gives a poor first impression for Spineshank fans and also makes the album feel cheap as if these songs are only at the beginning just to gain radio publicity. Luckily the second half of the album drops the heavy emphasis on clean vocals but there still remain poorly executed ideas such as the previously mentioned three part track and the interlude track “Ploratio Morbus” which just serves as a filler track that’s not very interesting even if it does provide a break from the albums generic sound. As much as there is negative to say on the album there are still moments where the music gets kind of interesting. Title track “Anger Denial Acceptance” features some variation with spoken word sections and the soft piano breakdown as a closer even if it is not very Spineshank-esque. Other songs like “I Am Damage” and “The Endless Disconnect” are also interesting and have their moments but they’re overshadowed by the sheer amount of repetition and generic songwriting that “Anger Denial Acceptance” has to offer.
Whilst displaying some moments that shine, “Anger Denial Acceptance” ultimately gets buried amongst tired clichés and uninspired songwriting to satisfy listeners. Repetition really is this albums nail in the coffin as its dull riffs and flat choruses gnaw away at any interesting elements that are to be found. In the end this is an album that you’ll Play Listen Forget.