Death Spells prod the line between madcap and genius.
Label: Hassle Records
Released: 29th July 2016
“My love and my hate for you are infinite,” promise Death Spells at the opening of their debut album, signposting the two roads that you’re about to be offered. ‘Nothing Above, Nothing Below’ is a neon drenched dystopia, crumbling around you the further you go but still calling your name. Barely recognizable, it’s a nightmare for some. A dream for others. Disgusting for all.
From the scattergun twitch of ‘why is love so disastrous’, the record lays down a gauntlet. Burying pop choruses in layers of glitching electronics and dirt, Death Spells do all they can to keep you at arms length. Peel back the thin layer of grime though, and you’ll find a bright, rainbow soaked record of theatrics and fantasy. ‘choke on one another’ is driven by a pounding trance, ‘quaainterlude’ is an eerie respite, all goosebumps and beautiful dread and ‘hypnotic spells’ dances in the distance, enticing you to give chase. In between these moments of calm, Frank Iero and James Dewees take great pleasure in shocking at every turn. Twisting about the place, falling through the floor and changing all the rules, ‘Nothing Above, Nothing Below’ is an intense listen. It’s a record made with the intention of causing a reaction and there’s not a moment of it that doesn’t demand one.
Prodding the line between madcap and genius, Death Spells are an all or nothing prospect. Red pill or blue pill, if you tumble down the rabbit hole, the band have provided worlds to discover and left secrets to be uncovered. It’s not for everyone though. With them or against them, Death Spells have got exactly what they wanted with ‘Nothing Above, Nothing Below. It’s wonderfully fearless, stupidly reckless and you can’t help but love just how full-on and unapologetic the pair have been with this new toy. Ali Shutler