It's been over two years since Spineshank released their sophomore album, The Height Of Callousness, but upon hearing Self Destructive Pattern it is clearly evident that it was time well spent. Self Destructive Pattern is the sound of a band hitting its full creative stride and bringing to fruition all of the possibilities that had thus far only been hinted at. “We realized where we stood in our career,” drummer Tommy Decker explains, “and that we needed to put out a great record and we concentrated on that. We felt it was time to change, and made our sound more of a punk rock type thing. There are fewer loops and less electronics, and we simplified some of that and made a rock 'n roll record. We wanted to stay true to kids who loved our last record, and we wanted to make stuff we liked.”
While serving those two masters is sometimes impossible, Spineshank manages to improve upon the sound of its past and further assert that they are creating the sound of the future on Self Destructive Pattern. While many of the songs maintain the aggression of The Height Of Callousness, they also display tremendous growth in both song structure and melody. The Height Of Callousness enjoyed both radio and video airplay thanks to the singles “Synthetic” & “New Disease”. It also saw the band touring the world and sharing the stage with Disturbed, Mudvayne, hed PE and Orgy and landed Spineshank on the 2001 Ozzfest Second Stage.
It was a grueling year and a half spent on the road and the band was tired and ready to rest. But there is no rest for the weary and the band headed into the studio with producer GGGarth Richarsdson (Mudvayne, Chevelle, Kittie) only to find that perhaps the road wasn't that bad at all. It took every collective ounce of blood, sweat, energy, and creativity from their bodies to come up with the tracks that comprise Self Destructive Patterns. It was a process fraught with stops and starts and trials and tribulations. Once during the recording, the computer, on which a major portion of the album was saved, crashed.
The band thought three months of hard work was lost, but GGGarth managed to save it intact. Guitarist Mike Sarkysian says, “It took us 16 months to make this record. It's like giving birth. Some moments happen quick, and some don't. It takes its toll on you. But we stepped back, and looked at it differently and tried different things, which was exciting and challenging.” “Recording this album was like the equivalent of getting tattoos,” drummer, Tommy Decker quips. “The artist is working on you for a long time. Then he stops, and sprays the area with the water, and it feels good. Then, when he starts up again, and it's worse than it was and you wish you never took that break.”
From all of the pain though, came inspiration, and Self Destructive Patterns truly benefited from the labor expended to achieve it. As a whole, the album covers a much more expansive spectrum of sounds and styles. Sarkysian admits that “there are more peaks and valleys, whereas our last record was straight up punching you! There was 37 minutes of kicking your ass. Now, we kick your ass and then let you think it's over and you're getting away, and then we'll just kick your ass again.” In true Darwinian fashion, the fittest, most Spineshank-like songs survived the cut from the 30+ songs the band entered the studio with. Singer Jonny Santos also knew that Spineshank had to step up to the plate more now than ever. “It's another evolution. If you listen to Strictly Diesel and then The Height Of Callousness, it's almost like a totally different band. We had to grow again. We wanted to make an extreme record. We didn't follow any rules. “Violent Mood Swings” is brutal. But then songs like “Forgotten” are almost Nirvana-esque, in that slow, “Rape Me” style. We were like 'Where did that come from?' But it felt good.”
A lot of personal issues manifested themselves in Santos's lyrics. “I had such a bumpy road the past couple years,” he reveals. “It has ruined a lot of my personal and social life with people that I thought were close to me. I didn't want to write angry hate songs, because there is enough anger in Spineshank to go around already!” Other subjects broached on the album include having an addictive personality (be it to a drug or a person). Santos and Tommy co-wrote almost all the songs together, and the two really gelled. Santos admits that self-reflection was a major source of inspiration. “A lot of people don't reflect on themselves. When writing songs, it's always about someone else, and you point the finger at them and not at yourself,” Santos admits. Santos finishes, “This is most focused this band has been, ever. Everyone had a different goal on the first two records, which is good. But this time, we knew exactly where we wanted to go, and we had to figure out how to get there. There was a lot of hard rock, and the occasional fight. But I'm married to these guys. Right now, it is my favorite record in the world. It's fucking Spineshank. We tapped into something we haven't been able to tap into. We took a lot of risks and chances on this one.”