Spinebreaker
Ice Grave LP

When initially listening to San Jose’s Spinebreaker, I’m at first reminded of the now defunct Short lived Skinfather and their 2014 release, None Will Mourn; both California bands, both young ‘kids’ playing a form of mid range, hardcore tinged Dismember/ Swedish death metal , and both releases are vinyl only. Of course that;s a broad generalization, as Spinebreaker have a little more down tempo, slower pace akin to Xibalba, and other bands such as Black Breath or Germany’s Deathrite come to mind, but the feedback drenched, Hm boss tone and delivery certainly imbue their California compadres.

Ice Grave is the band’s debut after a single and an EP but you’d never tell from the confidence and delivery here and as an added bonus, the production of Cole Kakimoto (guitarist of  California hardcore act True Hearted) absolutely destroys. The 11 tracks and one intro rumble and buzz with bad intentions, intentions highlighted by the more often than not mid paced train paced chug of the materiel. The vocals of Alex Herrera, as with Skinbreaker might be the sticking point due to the more hardcore rasp/shout delivery, but its hard to deny the overall density and heft of the sound.

There are a few wall of noise/d beat gallops such as “River of Pain”, ‘Severed Denial” or “Fractured Existence”. But when rendered amid a slower dirge like the Wolverine Blue-ish lumber of true opener “Into the Ice Grave” or the simply crushing duo of ‘Withering in the Blizzard” and “Flesh Wound” it just fucking destroys. There is even a moment of clarity with closer “Merciless Victory”, a haunting two and a half minute instrumental that shows the band can pen something a little more introspective as well. The only real down side is this is either an LP or a digital release. And vinyl is really hard to crank in the car….I wish there was a CD release.

Hopefully these guys won’t follow Skinfather and break up after one album, as there is some real promise here and a name that delivers a US mix of Swedish death metal and hardcore with devastating effect.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 15th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: Jay

    Damn, this sounds like some good stuff and I really dug that Skinfather LP. That old school Entombed/Dismember/Grave sound is a death metal vibe I can never get enough of when done right.


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