In keeping with the sensation of sixties era rock, No Image presents itself in an analog manner in order to capture those signature hazy occult and psychedelic touches that make this underground world for the genre as catchy as it is uninviting to the mainstream masses looking for one well polished sterilized gem after another. The roaring pulse of the bass guitar often stands as a far more vital instrument than the lead and rhythm guitars, both of which do establish some fantastic hooks, but are more focused on creating atmosphere, allowing that often overlooked instrument a chance to really stand out as more than just a presence meant to give the music a bit of a backbone. The drums remain fairly crisp overall, though still sound as noisy and static covered as the rest of the instruments, and even the restrained clean vocals, as they would appear on a cassette or vinyl pressing back in the day. This all leads to more of a natural sounding rawer trait than most bands that dabble in this particular sound today have.
But, this doesn’t mean every track is meant to carry that heated ritualism. If anything, the traces of The Devil’s Blood are carried over into a mixture of early Ghost and even Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats at times. In fact, “Servant” doesn’t really show much of that occult aura. This track has more of a gritty eighties feel that could be compared to Garbage back in the nineties with their album Version 2.0, but with a hint of haze and more of a sophisticated approach to the main verses, while the latter of the three aforementioned groups comes through a bit during the chorus thanks to the higher pitched singing and subtle heavy metal stylized drumming that helps ascend the track a little further into epic terrain than it otherwise would have been.
Meanwhile there’s “Old Habits”, which showcases a blend of psychedelic rock, ritualism, and trudging doom metal drum work and pacing. The spirit crushing performance, which perfectly plays up the band’s goal of crerating music that was a “monument to civilization’s decline” (per the accompanying press release). There is no light found in this march that only moves deeper and deeper forward into a nightmarish scenario that fans of Neurosis or the recent Corrections House can appreciate. The only difference is the dismal, hopeless environments are void of any industrial elements, even though it matches the miserable, post-apocalyptic, even oppressive worlds both styles can muster, the latter more so than the aforementioned. That is, until “O.D.I.R.”, which introduces some of the post-rock elements into the mix with a bit of a punk twist, but also that of “I Need to Know” by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers at times. It may not sound like it works out, but given some of the background doom elements at work, it winds up an irresistible blend of melancholy and infectious, somewhat hopeful leads that feel more like a tease.
From the opening chords to the darker, sludgier riffs of “The Waves”, there’s no denying that No Image is a very bleak effort that doesn’t even seem to have to try to blur a number of various rock and metal styles into one monolithic concoction. Gold find their own voice within the darker rock universe with this effort, easily dwarfing the more generic occult rock debut that was Interbellum with the greatest of ease. No Image is the rockers soundtrack to a world in disarray, offering only glimpses into the light between sophistication and the occult as everything continues to spiral out of control. If you haven’t checked out Gold yet, or even if you already have given how dynamically different this new effort stands in comparison, this is an album you really need to check out if you consider yourself a fan of this breed of music, or even of the bands that appear on the genre’s now staple Rise Above Records.