Audio Mixer: The Deaf Bros.
Recording information: The Meadow (03/2014).
Photographer: Samantha Muljat.
It's fitting that Irish synth metal trio No Spill Blood took their band name from a passage in H.G. Wells' science fiction novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, the same place synth pop pioneers Devo co-opted "Are we not men? We are DEVO!" Though No Spill Blood replace Devo's penchant for quirky robot pop with stomach-churning howls and brutal metal rhythms, there are foundational similarities in both bands' challenges to well-established musical traditions. No Spill Blood's approach to their intense, metallic sound is one that's never included a guitar, but the band's burning synths and caustic rhythms come into their own on second full-length Heavy Electricity. Calling on inspiration from generations of synth punk masters like Killing Joke, Six Finger Satellite, Arab on Radar, the Locust, and yes, Devo, the band combines these cleaner influences with Sabbathy riffs and the occasional tip of the hat to horror movie synth soundtrackers like Goblin. Driven by Matt Hedigan's distorted basslines and pained howls, opening tune "White Out" comes on with the power of the Melvins at their peak, only with celestial string pads filling in for downtuned guitars. The slower groove of "Harsh Route" builds on repetition and proggy riffing while "Endless Drift" strives to live up to its name, lurching drums and fantastical synths hinting at John Carpenter's homemade horror soundtracks as well as the sound of lost '80s sci-fi films. Never coming close to pop, No Spill Blood instead construct towering and complex monoliths of metal and electronics, showing astounding control of their instruments as they guide the album's emotional flow between excitement and anxious dread. ~ Fred Thomas