Snake River Conspiracy. Whatever happened to them? And Stabbing Westward? Garbage, when they discovered the electronics in the studio? This is reminiscent of these bands and that’s by no means a bad thing. It’s good to see this style making a mark, especially from a pair from the UK/Berlin.
The opening track ‘Fight Song’ has layers of drums with some nice tape saturation emulation applied to them, guitars that have been DI’d and clipped in a rubbery fuzzy manner that you can only achieve through DI, and some really nice use of space with a fuzz bass that is clearly present mid-left but has a tight second slap in the right.
Bullet Height have clearly thought through the production. There’s an awful lot going on in places, busier sections a bit tiring, but the vocals are relatively clear for the most part and Sammi Doll’s vocals in ‘Bastion’ are beautiful. The whole track softens the half time chorus is very welcome, a device they return to a few times across the album.
Occasionally you get a hint of natural instruments, a drum or hi-hat here, a piano there, but not for long.
The song structures are successful, if predictable. The vocals are flawless and well tracked. The synthesizers are cleanly layered, the guitar work is precise, the drums are tightly programmed with nice fills. But we have heard it all before. In Stabbing Westward. In Garbage.
But then, where are they now? Maybe Bullet Height are filling the hole we didn’t realize existed? The end of ‘Wild Words’ comes along and fills the gap with some nicely sliced glitch work, moving the genre forward a little.
‘Intravenous’ sounds like a Eurovision contender; this is a positive! We wish for another year as good as 2010 and songs like this that could do it! Send in Bullet Height!
Towards the end of the album, ballad track ‘Fever’ is a pleasant pause in proceedings with layered folk vocals. A slight disappointment as a fully acoustic version of ‘Fever’ would be beautiful. Bullet Height: Unplugged for their next album, anyone?
The album closes with ‘Up to the Neck’, ring modulated music box introduction, filtered distortion snares and a groove which may have been influenced by Rico Capuano. A much calmer, more anthemic track which returns us to thoughts of Stabbing Westward again, maybe some Marilyn Manson horn guitar in there, a bit of a niche reference.
If you’re into electro-rock music then you won’t be disappointed, so this is well worth hunting down, trust. It’s a grower, but once it’s in your rotation No Atonement will be there for a while.
No Atonement by Bullet Height is released on 19th May 2017 via Superball Music.