No Spill Blood is an Irish metal band composed of a rather experienced trio. The band initially began as a little side project and released their first EP (Street Meat) in 2011. Beginning in 2014, the trio had began working on new tunes, and with the new year comes No Spill Blood’s latest album, Heavy Electricity.
“White Out,” the opening track of Heavy Electricity, really sets the stage. A flurry of feelings, that remind you of bands like Sleep or The Melvins, sort of rush through as the band settles into their style. The bass is heavy and ominous, the synth tears through, and then the harsh vocals come in. It’s all timed perfectly. Throughout the album, the bass and synth work together to constantly build dark and brutal atmospheric soundscapes. For how arguably minimalistic the band is, it’s impressive. Few others can produce so much sound with so few of tools these days.
Admittedly not every song of this album is perfect, but a couple really shine through. “Thinner” for example, is probably the five most memorable minute of the album. The bass, in combination with keys, really bring out that doomsday atmosphere that the band so perfectly creates. Furthermore, the constant combination of drums and synth that dominate the song really demonstrate what the band as a whole is capable of. The second track, “Back To Earth,” also sells itself well. The bass carries a galloping sort of tune, while the synth produces a villainous melody. The vocals are like a chant. The entire song has this galvanistic property that will make anyone who listens to it feel as if they need to pillage a village or something. It’s pretty exhilarating.
Deserving of their own fifteen minutes of fame are the drums. To be perfectly honest, listen after listen, if one part of the band stood out, it was the drums. Extremely present, and yet not overpowering, every percussive strike seemingly has purpose. It’s this balance that really grabs your attention. There’s just something that screams, “This is more than just rhythm.”
Heavy Electricity has few flaws –but the issues the album does have are horrendous. After the first listen, the album as a whole is lackluster. The melodies are often predictable, and the synthesizer sometimes seems lazily tossed in. As a direct result, the really good songs seem to get washed up in the tide of less than memorable, and then the entire album suffers.
All things considered, Heavy Electricity is good, just not great. From the start No Spill Blood gets you impossibly excited for their music and yet they miss the mark for most the album. So badly Heavy Electricity leaves you yearning for some sort of wild, mind blowing solo or a barrage of polyphonic, intersecting melodies. Instead, the band just fails to deliver at all the key moments.
No Spill Blood’s Heavy Electricity is enjoyable –just not eargasmic. The usage of synth to build atmosphere as well as the heavy metal cacophony make it well worth the listen. It’s hard to imagine a fan of the more heavy genres who wouldn’t like this album.