Gold ‘No Image’ CD/LP/DD 2015

Gold 'No Image'Gold hail from The Netherlands and have deep roots in the national scene, with ex-members of The Devil’s Blood, Madball, Born From Pain and Malkovich in their ranks, their resulting sound is surprisingly free of hardcore elements. What remains is a hint of The Devil’s Blood in their mystic and harrowing aura.

No Image was recorded and mixed by Jeff Zeigler (Kurt Vile, The War On Drugs, Nothing) and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Yob, Bell Witch, Leviathan). The fuzzy but darkened sound makes a lot of sense suddenly. They have the names, but do they have the goods as well? We’ll find out if No Image is living up to its name-packed biography.

Another name is Milena Eva, who is announced through some Kafka reference. We’ll skip that for now and focus on her musical contribution. Eva has a style of singing that feels rather flat and more relying on its bite than its reach. On tracks like Shapeless her voice has that snarl, like you’d hear on some Cranberries songs coming from Dolores O’Riordan. It brings a tense feeling to the songs and in its own way finds balance and contradiction with the music.

The guitar work rests much on the big, soaring riffs, which hark back strongly to The Devil’s Blood. Eerie landscapes are created by clashing tones with vocals in an almost synchronous way. A song like Servant clearly demonstrates that, when the vocals are sometimes inaudible due to being on exactly the same note as other instruments. The drums are the great agitator in this song, where Igor Woutors is tormenting the listener with a swelling rhythm, as if something is about to burst.

The band has already released some videos, which seem to display a clash of violence and internet culture in a way that makes little sense. One of those songs is The Controller, which displays something in the sound that is probably meant as an atmospheric element but kind of annoys me. A layer of fuzzy distortion is put over the sound, which would be so haunting if it was clear. It makes the vocals inaudible and muffles the guitars, creating little more than a psychedelic blurr for the listener. I’m not sure why this stylistic choice was made, but it doesn’t add to the charm of this band and really makes the sound feel like its deteriorating.

In fact, that’s an element that annoyed me from track one onwards. The band clearly plays music that feels strongly like the psychedelic rock of the seventies. A clear sound, crisp voice and guitars and no hazy stuff. The haziness would be in whatever additions you use while listening to this music. The distorted elements give a confused feeling to the sound of the band, as if a combination between that occult rock and lo-fi black metal is sought after. If that was the missing link you were hoping for, you might want to check this out.

Gold have a lot going for them, but what comes out at the end is confused. The voice of Eva is haunting and beautiful and would be better complimented by letting the rest of the band sound crisp and clear. Underneath that layer of fuzz, there’s one great album.

Label: Ván Records | Profound Lore Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | BigCartel

Scribed by: Guido Segers