Spitfire - Self-Help (Cover Artwork)


Self-Help (2006)


While it has been over four years since the technical metalcore wrecking machine Spitfire put out their last release, you wouldn't know it from listening to Self-Help. With this album, they effortlessly make the countless number of bands who have sprung up in their wake look amateurish.

The album's striking cover art (a moustached man with ram horns and blank eyes) is a fitting reflection of vocalist Jon Spencer's often dark yet always intelligent lyrics. Over the course of the alubum, Spencer touches upon everything from a first person perspective of a pig set to slaughter ("Meat Market") to visits from angels ("Life and Limb") to the loss of individuality ("Go Ape"). Human behavior and our inherent weakness appears to be a running theme throughout Self-Help, providing a welcome breather from the typical heartbreak songs currently plaguing their genre.

The band's greatest strength however may be their ability to write songs that are as tuneful as they are chaotic. Spitfire displays a sharpened songwriting ability only a handful of their peers can match. Every off-time beat, every dissonant chord, and every feedback squeal has its place within each of the album's eleven expertly crafted tracks. From the chugging drums and bass in the intro of the title track to the harsh screams that open up "Dear John," this disc is packed from start to finish with well calculated metallic devastation.

Nods to Scarlet and Norma Jean (due to the fact that the two bands share guitarist Scottie Henry) are inevitable here. That's hardly a bad thing however, and it's certainly nothing Spitfire has ever made any effort to conceal. This is an excellent album from a band that's never received the attention or respect they deserve. In summation, Spitfire is a great deal better than most of what gets passed off as "metalcore" these days and fans of the genre would do well to give this CD a chance.