I don’t know what exactly it is about Poland, but they consistently have great Death Metal bands. Not a lot of them, but the ones that do come out of there are pretty solid. SPINAL CORD is a tribute to this theory and the release of their 2004 album, “Stigmata Of Life” is nothing but testament to it.
On first listen one is instantly going to think “This band sounds like a little VADER”. This is not a bad thing at all. It’s a compliment to be compared to the mighty VADER. But there are some differences between the two despite many of the similarities.
SPINAL CORD have a very interesting structure for their Death/Thrash assault. Not the normal structure for such a genre, they have a tendency to pull in a more modern guitar structure that incorporates a lot of stop and go riffs (the chunky parts if you will). This keeps the band instantly separated from the rest of the pack and really gives them something new to work with. Combine those killer riff structures with the bass lines of the famous Polish Death Metal bassist, Novy (strangely enough who joined the VADER lineup only a year prior to joining SPINAL CORD), and you have a rhythm combination to die for. Not to mention you have the intensity of some very serious Death Metal drumming with blast beats and double bass galore and the stop and go structures are not the energy killers that they might be.
Of course, all of these layered rhythms doesn’t stop guitarist, Dino, from unleashing some very well placed and thought out solos on the album. These solos are surprisingly structured and technical. They almost always come as a surprise from the brutal beats but are enjoyable nonetheless.
And if the musical side wasn’t enough, Barney (who recorded with the band but by the time of this writing in 2008 is no longer in the line up) gives us a great variety of roars and rasps to keep the music interesting and shifting.
Overall though, sometimes the album gets a repetitive feeling by the end. There is enough variety to really keep a listener engaged but not quite enough to really stand out the album from the rest of the Polish onslaught. It’s a great album but it can’t quite overcome the feeling of repetition by the end. The performances are outstanding and the potential for the band is staggering. Curious to see what comes next for them.
Songs to check out: “Ramirez”, “Burn Them All”, “Mind Killer”.
(Online April 5, 2008)