Interview with Spinebreaker

Spinebreaker Logo

Spinebreaker’s début album Ice Grave is a muscular, thrilling ride through Hardcore-infused Death Metal that’s a vibrant and energetic take on the sub-genre. Make sure you’re wearing appropriate spinal protection and let’s dive in to the world of the breaker of spines…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

Elliot: I’m Elliot and I riff and I sleep with an HM-2 under my pillow

Alex: I’m Alex and I do vocals and call people cowards in Spinebreaker

Give us a bit of background to Spinebreaker

Elliot: Alex and I wanted to start a death metal band so we did. Put out a tape and grabbed our friends to play with us. That’s pretty much it. All of us come from punk and hardcore so starting another band was just something we all wanted to do.

Alex: We are 5 hardcore dudes playing death metal with as loud and fucked up of a sound as possible.

How did you decide on the band name?

Elliot: We wanted to be so heavy that you wouldn’t just bang your head, you would bang your whole spine. Spinebreaker. Perfect.

Alex: It took us a long time to come up with one, so one day me and Elliot were hanging out and imagined what one of our friends looked like when he would head bang and get into a band that he likes, and came up with the name Spinebreaker.

Spinebreaker 3What are your influences?

Elliot: Pentagram, Sleep, Saint Vitus, Discharge, Black Sabbath, Repulsion, Unleashed, Grave, Oi and punk music, and the mighty HM-2 of course.

Alex: My influences consist of mostly Scandinavian death metal bands like the obvious Entombed, Dismember, Unleashed, Grave, etc.
And then bands that don’t really show up in our music like my Slayer, Morbid Angel, Merauder, Hatebreed, Disembodied, etc.

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

Elliot: Gatecreeper, Outer Heaven, Vorum, Rixe, Crown Court, Vamachara, Bad Times Crew, Scalped, Funerals, Violent Reaction, The Flex, Lower Your Head, Midnight

Alex: The new Cruciamentum album from this last year was incredible, I can’t stop talking about it. Gatecreeper also rules, they’ve got a split with Homewrecker, Scorched, and Outer Heaven (which I recommend you all check out) coming out soon. And I’m always listening the my friends’ badass bands, Bad Times Crew, Vamachara, Funerals, Runamuk, Subtle Violence, and Scalped.

How do you feel you fit into the Extreme Metal scene in 2016?

Elliot: Sonically we fit but we’re all a bunch of hardcore and punk dudes so we stand out a bit. We all heavily support extreme music, we just have our roots in punk and hardcore.

Alex: I think we fit, just in our own way. We’re all hardcore dudes and act like hardcore dudes, running around and jumping on stage unlike most metal bands. But you know I think people can get used to that because that the way the music makes us feel. It doesn’t make me wanna stand there with my arms crossed when I like a band.

Give us a bit of background to Ice Grave – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?

Elliot: We just really wanted something diverse. I like to throw in doom riffs every once in a while as well as some really dark and gloomy acoustic pieces to transition between songs. As far as concepts the only thing I really wanted to portray was heaviness. That’s it. Plain and simple. Filthy, loud, riff heavy death metal.

Alex: My lyrics range from death metal gory horror themes to just plain outrage about ignorance in topics about racism, sexism/feminism, homophobia, transphobia, police brutality and the black lives matter movement. Things that are out in the open to some but are still hidden in the dark to others.

How do you go about writing your songs?

Elliot: I sit in my room and crank my amp to 11 and just riff. That’s about it

Alex: Lyric-wise I think of a theme then a song name or a single line that I think can describe that theme I want to talk about but not be so obviously that the song is given away before you actual listen to it.

Spinebreaker Live 1How did the recording process go?

Elliot: It was hectic but it always is and we expect that so working around problems isn’t an issue. We are all about being a DIY band so we record everything ourselves since our other guitar player Cole is an audio engineer. We love how all his stuff comes out so we trust him when it comes to the whole process. The only real speed bump was Alex having his awesome little girl right before we needed to record vocals but other than that it wasn’t anything more then what we are used to.

Alex: We recorded just about everything with our guitarist Cole in our other guitarist, Elliot’s living room and recorded the drums in one of our good buddies garage. Luckily Cole is an awesome audio engineer or we’d sound like garbage.

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

Elliot: River Of Pain, Slithering Tyrant, Internal Bleeding, Withering In The Blizzard, and Fractured Existence. Why? I just like how everything fits together, just like it did in my head when I wrote the riffs.

Alex: Either River of Pain or Slithering Tyrant. Simply because those are my favourite lyrics I’ve written and they have the gnarliest fight riffs.

What does the future hold for Spinebreaker?

Elliot: No clue. Hopefully festivals and one off shows in areas we’ve never been. We all work full time and Alex has a child so big tours any more than a week isn’t really plausible.

Alex: No big tours or anything like that yet. We’ve got a fest in Van Nuys, CA. called Standing Hard Fest on January 30th. We’ll probably play some short tours of about a week at a time or less, some one off shows, and we’re always down to play fests whether it be metal, or hardcore.

Spinebreaker – Ice Grave (Review)

SpinebreakerThis is the début album from Spinebreaker, a Death Metal band from the US.

This is ugly Old-School Death Metal born bloody and ragged from the Hardcore scene. This means that the band combine the purity of their Death Metal heritage with the fire and energy of their Hardcore bloodline.

My, what a sound they have! Boasting a Swedish Death Metal guitar tone that their spiritual forefathers would be proud of, this is presented in a filthed-up package that fuses the feel of the era and style with a Hardcore edge and a touch of At the Gates and Carcass in the vocal department.

The end result is a savage demonstration of the fact that A) you don’t need to be Swedish to wield a chainsaw and B) there’s life in Old-School Swedish Death Metal yet; it’s not necessary for a band to simply rehash past glories.

Spinebreaker manage to successfully inject vitality and vibrancy into a rather stale, (but still very enjoyable), sub-genre. The inclusion of a Hardcore edge to some of the riffs adds a blood-pumping energy and the harsh screaming growls are a thing of gory beauty.

Whether ripping out giant grooves or pounding heaviness, Spinebreaker make everything sound dark, nightmarish and nasty, just as it should be. The spectre of At the Gates looms over the faster sections, (prompted for me by the vocals, but bleeding into the guitars too), and it’s a joy to hear this encapsulated by such a dirty Swedish delivery.

A very enjoyable 38 minutes.