Spinebreaker – “Spectral Forge”

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Spinebreaker – “Spectral Forge”


The story of Gulch was an amazing hardcore myth, and it got a beautiful storybook ending. Gulch came ripping out of San Jose, bringing a frantic, chaotic, confrontational sound and carrying themselves like post-apocalyptic warrior urchins. They quickly became the toast of the hardcore world. Their live show was famously intense, but they became even bigger during the pandemic, when they couldn’t play those shows. Gulch dropped one album and a few stray releases, and then they announced their impending breakup. Last year, Gulch headlined the Sound And Fury festival, the largest North American hardcore fest in history. It was their final show. They went out on top.

But there was a story before Gulch. Before that band got together and took off, frontman Elliot Morrow and guitarist Cole Kakimoto were both in Spinebreaker, a San Jose band that played death metal with a hardcore edge. Morrow played guitar in Spinebreaker, and current Sunami frontman Josef Alfonso played bass. Spinebreaker released one album, 2016’s Ice Grave, and they followed it with a promo tape in 2019. I’d seen that Spinebreaker had gotten back to playing shows in the past year, but it was still a very cool surprise when I got the Bandcamp notification this morning that there’s a new Spinebreaker record on the way.

Next month, Spinebreaker will release their new six-song EP Cavern Of Inoculated Cognition. (That’s a Gulch-ass title.) Spinebreaker still has a lineup full of heavy hitters, including three guitarists: Elliot Morrow, Cole Kakimoto, and Dead Heat’s Justin Ton. But they’ve shared the new song “Spectral Forge,” and it’s a truly nasty piece of sludgy lo-fi hardcore death-metal. In a press release, singer Alex Herrera says:

Our new single “Spectral Forge” is about afflictions in all forms following and latching itself to you like a ghost or demonic entity. No matter what you do, it tries to suck the life out of you, and it feels like an inescapable part of you. I am basically at war with myself in my head at all times in one way or another, and that is the theme of this record lyrically. Depression, anxiety, anger, and tendency toward violence. This is what the Cavern Of Inoculated Cognition represents musically, and it was perfectly captured in the cover art painted by the great Brad Moore.

Listen to “Spectral Forge” and check out the Cavern Of Inoculated Cognition tracklist below.

01 “Beneath Our Blood Stained Sun”
02 “Infinite Crest”
03 “Bone Riddling Necrosis”
04 “Spectral Forge”
05 “Inoculated”
06 “Crimson Mask”

Cavern Of Inoculated Cognition is out 5/5 on Creator-Destructor Records. Spinebreaker only have one show coming up: A supporting slot on Deathgrave’s record release show, 4/15 at LVL Uproar in San Jose.

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