REVIEW: Spite – Nothing is Beautiful [2017]

Artist: Spite 

Album: Nothing is Beautiful


With each passing day we spend on this planet, our view of life and the world that surrounds us becomes more jaded. The warm glow and innocent haze that bathed everything seen through once youthful eyes becomes dull and dreary. Acts of kindness are reduced to depraved attempts at survival. We no longer greet, complement or converse; we lie, insult and steal. As we live longer, the façade of our early perception of the world crumbles under the harsh experience of existence.

Religion is a lie. Mankind are murderers and thieves. Love is a ruse. Nothing is Beautiful. 

Bay Area brutalizers Spite have carried a reputation for ruthless aggression and diffuse, all-inclusive hatred since their inception. Seen on their debut EP and self-titled full length release both, this should be nothing new for fans of this monstrously heavy quartet—and as the adage goes, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Spite Return with what is their most malevolent and misanthropic album yet, Nothing is Beautiful—a jaded, jarring and jaw-breaking collection of tracks that take aim at just about everyone and everything. Groovy, heavy and catchy all in one, there has never been a better time to become one with the Spitecult.

For genre nazis and heavy music elitists worldwide, Spite have always posed a conundrum when it comes to classification. Not consistently low and slow enough to be pidgeonholed as “another downtempo band,” yet too abrasive and raunchy to be metalcore—and just a bit too groovy to be straight-up deathcore—Spite take elements from death metal, metalcore, hardcore, nu metal and deathcore alike, mix it up with touches of thrashy, riff-driven chaos and a pinch of their own off-the-wall musical stylings and throw it in a blender. The result is a sound that hits just as hard when it’s going a mile-per-minute, driven by percussionist Cody Fuentes’ fleet footwork as it does when it is low and sludgy, defined by bassist Stephen Mallory’s murky, low tone. As a band, Spite are comprehensively crushing—from the bouncy “The Corner of the Room” to the closing, gradually decaying breakdown of “Self Destruct.” Fuentes—percussionist and producer both—does an excellent job at both of his duties. Songs like “The Corner of the Room” see his drumming at its simplest and most straightforward, while “Thy Bidding” and “AWOL” both are quick and blistering, as is the opening salvo of “Kill or be Killed.” Fuentes is adept at technically savvy fills and slow, skin-melting patterns that let his drumming serve as a scaffold for Mallory’s thick bass tone. Hefty all on its own, when paired with Fuentes’ kick drum, Mallory’s bass inflicts blunt force trauma like a sledgehammer to the head—best heard at the end of “Kingdom of Guts,” or the album’s lead single, “Despise.” Magnificent as their low end is, Spite’s sharp edge and greatest source of musical intensity comes from guitarist Alex Tehrani, whose high leads and low, crunchy chugs contrast beautifully to bewilder and beat the listener senseless. “Thy Bidding,” as well as the explosive introductory number “IED,” see Tehrani’s fretwork at its most lethal, channeling the elements that made songs like “Digging (parts One and Two)” and “Night Terrors” so absurd. Meanwhile, the climactic two-steppy riff of “Nothing is Beautiful” sees Tehrani channeling hints of heavy hardcore and thrash both, cruel but catchy all in one.

To speak of Spite’s reputation as a relentless and abusive heavy act, however, is to speak of frontman Darius Tehrani. Rapidly and rightfully rising to pseudo infamy in the underground music scene, Tehrani’s voice is as incredible as ever—and his lyrics continue to channel the blind and bottomless hate that he has become synonymous with.

Let’s get it out of the way right now: if you expected anything subtle, tactful, peaceful or pleasant out of Spite’s vocal and lyrical element, then you can follow Tehrani’s commands on “Kingdom of Guts” and promptly eat shit. Spite are far from subtle, cashing in on their appeal and demeanor defined by wonton violence and visceral, intense hate. If you didn’t get that from the first fifty seconds of “Despise,” then you may as well be deaf. “Despise” stands to be Spite’s most…well, spiteful song yet; a bold statement considering their discography. Throughout all ten tracks of Nothing is Beautiful, Tehrani lets all of his inner demons out, shedding enough sinister and skin-peeling, pissed-off aggression to make The Hulk shake in his boots. Vocally immaculate and lyrically intense, Tehrani’s reign of terror continues with Spite’s second full-length album: what more could the listener ask?

As long as Spite continue to craft music fueled by little more than hatred and a desire to be devastatingly heavy, they will be a polarizing band. The single biggest complaint issued by skeptics of the band has been and will be Darius’ lyricism, and that’s just the plain truth. Spite will continue to be categorized as “that one really pissed band,” for good reason. While there are moments on Nothing is Beautiful that stand as counterpoints—Darius’ decay into insanity on “Self Destruct” or his potentially hallucinogenic ramblings on “The Corner of the Room”—Spite are fueled by their namesake. They aren’t out to inspire awe or beauty or complex emotion—which, in my mind, is what makes them so great. From the first chug of “IED,” the listener sees red; a switch gets flipped and half an hour of violence is simply kick-started. It may not be pretty or poetic, but it’s as pure and invigorating as uncut cocaine. Become one with the snake. Walk with the Spitecult. Press play and you’ll see that nothing is beautiful. 



For Fans Of: The Last Ten Seconds of Life, Extortionist, Bodysnatcher, Falsifier, Face Your Maker

By: Connor Welsh