The corners and edges of their debut "Strictly Diesel" already had been smoothed on the successor "The Height Of Callousness" and exactly that album could very well be called masterpiece, which put the bar pretty damn high for the third effort. The four Californians took three years to forge the new songs and the end result has been worth it, even though you won't find and real novelties.
SPINESHANK on the one hand take the safe route, on the other hand the collective of the band has grown even stronger and you hear in each song that the chemistry within the band is damn good. Jonny Santos is torturing his vocal chords a tad bit more varied, Mike Sarkisyan has created another bunch of deadly riffs, Rob Garcia provides his usual menacingly growling bass sound and Tommy Decker does not only bring in big deeds on the drumkit, but additionally induced some filigree and spaced out electronic elements. Typically SPINESHANK, but still more professional and intricate than ever before.
Just listen to "Violent Mood Swings", "Consumed", or the mighty title track "Self-Destructive Pattern". Here all the virtues are combined that they had arduously compiled during the past few years. With "Beginning Of The End" they also have the most probably most hit potential song ever since their foundation. Comparisons to the megasellers LINKIN PARK are opening up and so it is not a big surprise that this song has been chosen to be the first video. But still SPINESHANK are far away from selling out or getting commercial, because as counterpart they have also recorded "Stillborn". This track is among the most hefty in their repertoire and shows the Los Angeles quintet from its most brutal side. So no reason to fear and fans of the first two albums will enjoy "Self-Destructive Pattern" for a long time. With the choice of the producer they also took no chance, just like on "The Height Of Callousness", and they recruited Garth "GGGarth" Richardson and he mobilised the last reserves from the compositions.
All in all a masterpiece, but still too little risk for a higher rating, which the true fans should not care about at all. (Online August 25, 2003)