Eye of Night by No Spill BloodRelease date: February 24, 2023
Label: Svart Records
Dublin’s No Spill Blood first lurched into my radar as support to Fang Island about 10 years ago. I had no idea what I was about witness when three ramshackle looking fellas fire up their instruments and let rip with their awesome brand of synth-doom-metal. Bassman/vocalist Matt Hedigan had been standing beside me pre-show looking like he was one of the audience. So imagine my surprise when he stepped up onto the stage and proceeded to ‘sing’ with his unique style of vocalising. As a bass player myself, the humungous riffs he managed to pull from his bass also blew me away. So they are back with album number two, entitled Eye of Night. With drummer Ror Conaty now firmly ensconced in the ranks, along with synth/electronics wizard Ruadhan O’Meara, the band have been toiling away creating this engaging 10 track album, released on Svart Records.
Opener ‘Cradle Scythe’ slithers along initially like a tiny alien spaceship bleeping, on a collision course with a mighty asteroid. The asteroid in question made from Matt’s evil growl and bowel dislodging bass, Ruadhan’s sci-fi synths and Ror’s clattering expertly placed drums. This is just the tension ratcheting intro that is violently displaced with the raucous splurge attack of ‘Anvil Crawler’. A full-on thrash-synth-doom-metal banger that is like a mastiff shaking the shite out of a rabbit. The swelling synths that rise in the final flurry of this track are brilliantly cinematic and this is what makes No Spill Blood different from the pack. Well, that and Matt’s blood curdling howls and his ability to turn bass into seismic waves of sound like there’s four or five guitarists and a wall of Marshalls.
No Spill Blood have always had a neat knack for bringing pop sensibilities to their brand of nasty noise rock and on ‘Ad Unguem’ the drums are verging on happy break beats. The groove gets locked in and it’s impossible not to get lost in the hypnotic haze, Matt makes sure you don’t by hollering in your ear. Around the three-minute mark the beats start to twist in the most amazing way and that groove you were locked in gets turned on it’s axis several times. It is incredible and confounding. ‘Toom’ is a brief interlude of tumbling drums and otherworldly hums and spacious tones. Then ‘Eye of Night’ drops in, a piledriver onslaught of super tight rivet popping beats and a mighty bass throb. Ruadhan’s synth interventions are wondrous and add technicolour hues to what is a fucking beast of a song. Watch the video and it will make a lot more sense as to what these lads are about.
Whirring synths merge with Ror’s pounding drums to stunning effect as ‘Ekur’ shakes rattles and rolls the listener to the core. You can visualise mosh pits erupting to this one, especially when Matt steps on the pedal called “almighty shit the bed turbo bass”. No Spill Blood have certainly thought hard about their song titles on this album, or possibly they just didn’t but you think they did. No idea what a ‘Cimmerian Maw’ is but the pompous synths are like the heralding of new Emperor. No one else makes music like this!
In ‘Ossein’, once again No Spill Blood lay out an impossible set of rhythms that seem to be fighting each other, if you try and piece them together logically. Spinning out of control only to rectify momentarily for what might constitute a chorus. Though you’ll never walk down the street humming a No Spill Blood song. But that’s not the point of their music. The song builds to glorious euphoric climax as Ruadhan’s joyous synths rise to the fore. I remind you this immense sound is created by only three musicians.
Preluded by the brief interlude that is ‘-‘ which sounds like the mothership coming to collect it’s three lost alien sons, the final song ‘Dead Satellite’ is a triumphant sign-off. For once, Ror’s beats are at an easier pace to keep up with, and Matt’s bass takes on a less forceful groove. Once again it is Ruadhan’s imperious synths that hold the whole thing together as they arc and rise to the skies. Matt’s final utterings are like a defiant gladiator taking his last breath, gargling blood as his body surges for one final time. The soothing tones of Ruadhan’s synths try to end the album calmly, but Matt’s squealing feedback reminds you that this band’s priority is noise and danger.
Eye of Night is not an easy album to digest in one sitting. No Spill Blood are one of the most uncompromising bands on the planet in terms of the sheer force of noise they create. But see them live and you’ll realise they’re just some regular fellas making music they want to. There’s no theatrics in their performance, they just let the music roar and soar. The set-up of bass, drums and synths is so damn basic the wizardry of how they make such a forceful and mighty racket is hard to comprehend. With this album No Spill Blood have pushed themselves hard to create some punishing ultra-heavy music that richly rewards repeat plays.