SPITFIRE – Self-Help

SPITFIRE - Self-Help


Goodfellow Records
Release date: February 28, 2006

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

When reviewing a CD, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re giving your opinion on someone’s creation, their “baby” as it were. Generally no one wants to insult parents of a new baby. It’s considered rude to do so. However, every now and then a baby comes along that just makes you say, “That’s one UGLY baby!” Self-Help by Spitfire is one such baby.

Spitfire is a Metalcore Punk band from Virginia, USA, that has been around in one form or another since at least as far back as 1997, when they released their first EP called Straining Toward What’s To Come. The band originally began as a trio, at which time they released their first full-length CD, The Dead Next Door in 1999, on Solid State Records. In 2001 they released an EP named The Sideshow Whiplash on their current record label, Goodfellow Records. Following the EP release, the band split up and then reformed four years later in 2005. They are now billed as a quintet, but their Web site lists six names, which in most people’s books would make them a sextet. The breakdown is: Matt Beck on Guitar, Scottie Henry on Guitar, Dan Tulloh on Guitar, Ian Sabo on Bass, Chris Raines on Drums, Jon Spencer on Vocals.

What makes Self-Help so ugly? Best to start with the music. It’s mostly fast and mostly loud, but it goes downhill from there. There is no melody in any of the songs. There is no cohesiveness in any of the songs that would allow you to identify a verse/chorus/verse type of pattern. If not for the two second break between songs, it would be next to impossible to tell when one ended and one began. It would be best classified as “free-form” Hardcore. There are numerous chord slides up and down the necks of the guitars, which are truly annoying. There are also metallic sounds interspersed throughout the music, which sound more like a hammer hitting a piece of iron than a guitar, not to mention the constant feedback. Speaking of which … why have three guitarists? There are no harmonies or lead riffs, so one guitar turned up really loud would have accomplished the same thing. There is no rhythm in the tunes. The drummer appears to be playing along with the guitarists, rather than setting a rhythm for them to follow.

On to the “vocals”… the lead screamer does nothing but that … scream. He has the kind of voice that makes you just want to pull your hair out. There is no true “singing” to be found on the CD, and it sounds as if every line he screams is going to be his last. It sounds truly forced and uncomfortable. As for vocal range, there really isn’t any. It’s very monotonous and droning. By the way, what is he singing? Luckily, they include a written copy of their “lyrics” with the CD. In the first song, “Meat Market,” there are lyrics that will have you scratching your head and saying “WTF?” For example, “I ran into my brother at the troth today, he tasted good.” The song “The Suicide Cult is Dead” has a line that says, “We both throb from the same arthritis.” Now there’s something about hearing a Punk singer screaming ‘arthritis’ at the top of his lungs that just makes you want to chuckle.

The CD itself comes in a very nice tri-fold case, with a pocket where the lyrics booklet is contained. The artwork is unusual, but kind of cool. The CD label is a man’s head with octopus tentacles coming out of the bottom. Their Web site mirrors the artwork of their CD case and label, and if they had put as much effort into the music as they did into the packaging, they might have a decent product.

After all is said and done, Spitfire does have a fan base built up over the years of being together, and there are some people that will enjoy this album. It says in their bio, “Fans of frantic, chaotic, technical Metalcore should check out this underrated and under-appreciated band when their return album Self-Help is released.” It would seem that if the band is ‘underrated and underappreciated’ then it’s time to take a long, hard look at themselves and realize that it’s going to take more than Self-Help to get them back on their feet again.


  • George Wagemann

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of a town about 35 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois, USA. His parents bought him his first stereo and some cool music to go along with it including Led Zeppelin II, Foghat, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. He took private guitar lessons from the age of 10 through the age of 15. Throughout that time he played in various garage bands both on bass and lead guitars. He had gotten to the point where he was considered a “pretty decent” guitar player. Then, he heard Yngwie play for the first time and realized that “pretty decent” guitar players are a dime a dozen. He sold his guitars and gear not long after that. Of course after getting older and wiser he ended up regretting it. His favorite styles of Metal includes Power, Progressive, Hardcore, Thrash, Melodic Death Metal, and Euro-style Metal, which is far different than American-style Metal, which he also likes.

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