GOLD’s mission statement is to “play a distinct form of heavy rock as a monument to civilisation’s decline”. This follow-up to their first album “Interbellum” is much more than heavy rock. “No Image” should really be called “A Multitude of Images”.
After a psychedelically punkish opener with a bit of post metal thrown in, “Old Habits” is dark, insistent and addictive. What is clear is that GOLD know how to create a song structure. There’s a strong indie element about this, and the energy of that sweeps us along nicely. “O.D.I.R” fizzes along very nicely with a thrashing drum beat but also nice harmonies and an airy song. A distinctive aspect is the suggestive vocals, which resemble those of Debbie Harry or the lady from In This Moment and add expression to what are already very interesting song structures.
The more I’ve listened to this, the better it is. Leaving musical categories and genres apart, “No Image” is a collection of intriguing songs. The darkness and creepiness which is reflective of the band’s interest in Kafka, comes over on “Shapeless”. Whether it’s downbeat or upbeat, there’s always plenty in the mix and GOLD, who come from The Netherlands, always come up with something original and fresh. The indie punk style returns with “Tar and Feather”. With great backing from the instrumentalists, the song manages the appealing combination of being both bouncy and dark. “The Controller” continues the dark vein but this time it’s haunting and creepy. The rhythm is constant and suggestive of a dark and misty scene. The singer’s voice is haunting. The track bursts into life and obscurely, stops – didn’t get that one. The track which follows, “The Waves”, has life and energy, and in some ways reminded me of the darkwave experience of Tristania but with an indie edge. Dark as it is, “The Waves” is exciting. “And I Know How” demonstrates the moodier side of GOLD, and as usual has an interesting structure and memorable riff. The drum work is outstanding too, and leads the way forcefully on the shadowy “Don’t”. This pulsating track was one of my favourites on this colourful album. Like “The Controller”, it ends in mid air but at least “Taste Me”, which follows, has a similar level of energy, emotional power and edginess. We’re in true darkwave territory now. The lady’s voice is beautiful and haunting, while the instrumentalists drive the song forward brightly. “Taste Me” is another potential favourite track on this album of riches.
It’s good that GOLD don’t waste a note. Every riff, rhythm line, drum beat and vocal line has relevance and impact. Each song is well conceived and structured. “No Image” is a very interesting album to listen to. I admire its originality and freshness.
(8.5/10 Andrew Doherty)