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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Review: Spitanger - Spitanger


Spitanger? Up until today I had never heard of Spitanger, which isn’t all that strange, considering the fact they’re not around that long yet. Time for an introduction then. Spitanger is a 4-man outfit from Copenhagen who, as they claim themselves, threw together some groove, death and thrash metal with some rock and grunge to have it become its own entity. Style-wise their musical foundation comes from the works of bands like Pantera, Slipknot, Testament and a couple more big names. So, pretty much a run-of-the-mill type of band judging by this description I’d say, since we have all heard these claims before.

However, never judge a band by its press kit, there’s a bit more to Spitanger than meets the eye, or rather a lot more. These are not your typical young dogs plagiarizing on and feeding off of other bands’ success, Spitanger actually managed to create a sound of their own, indeed, its own entity. This might be due to their ethics. Spitanger’s members are all somewhat older and they play because they want to, not for money or fame. Maybe this is the perfect recipe for a new band, because despite the fact the musical influences are clearly audible I never get the feeling I have heard it all before. It simply feels familiarly new.

With this self-titled album, their full-length debut, Spitanger delivers a pleasantly varied piece of work, not just with every song, but also within every song, offering something for just about everyone. They have actually put their money where their mouths are, living up to their claim they have included a big list of influences in their songs. In about every song they jump from genre to genre, without overdoing it, which keeps things from getting chaotic anywhere. Where an abundance of speed- and genre changes usually makes the listener restless, the guys from Spitanger manage to keep your attention at all times.

Opener ‘Unfaithful’ is a catchy rock song, where singer Mario Giovagnoli utilizes a great whiskey-and-cigarettes-a-plenty type of voice with a grunt every now and then. The music is solid, with a striking role for the drums, played by Niels Alex Larsen. ‘Tales from reality’ is a completely different story. It’s best described as a thrashy song with death grunts and a clean-voiced, almost sing-along chorus. Even though the song is exactly as unpredictable as the description is complicated, it is a strong composition, expertly executed.

In ‘welcome to the real world’ courses change once again, this time to a slower, heavy riffed metal song which seems to be made for Giovagnoli’s rasping voice. The speed even decreases some more in ‘Forever’, which is almost a ballad only to be turned back to position thrash in ‘Freedom’, with a very good playing Sammi Damiri on bass. This genre- and speed hopping keeps on going throughout the rest of the album, with the slower ‘Wedding day’, which has a remarkably weird sang chorus, with a children’s choir and a very throaty Giovagnoli, followed by the high speed ‘Revolt!’ which has an outstanding rhythm section and a fantastic solo by guitar player Rasmus Toftlund. A gem among gems, this ‘Revolt!’. With ‘A better man’, the speed goes back to slow for one last time, proving Giovagnoli is equally at ease in the slower, clean segment of singing as he is in the grunts, before ending the album with a bang called ‘Great depression’.

Spitanger’s first steps on the path to achieve their goal, which is to become a serious player in the world of international metal music, are more than promising. Musically they have all their bases covered, not in the last place because of the great skills of the musicians and vocalist, who seem to have no problems playing or singing many different styles. Usually combining this many styles that are this far apart is a bad idea, but in this case it actually works out pretty good. The continuous change in tempo and style make sure there’s always something new to discover in every single song without getting chaotic or incoherent. However, when making this kind of music, this is an always present danger, so they must be aware of a that in the future. For some reason, though, I’m convinced they are and will be. All in all ‘Spitanger’ is a highly varied album that will serve a lot of different rock and metal fans. Definitely worth torturing your ear drums for a bit!

Written by Henric van Essen

You can download the album here.

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