Belushi Speed Ball – Stellkira (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 8th May 2024
Rating: 9 / 10

This Kentucky crossover thrash act possesses an intriguing name – Belushi Speed Ball referencing infamous comedian John Belushi and his tragic overdose cocaine/heroin combination often referred to as a speedball. They started as a project in 2013, steadily releasing a series of EPs and albums while making headway across the United States as tours developed. This scribe’s introduction to the band occurred when hearing “My Favorite Color Is Pizza” on regular rotation for Sirius XM’s Liquid Metal channel – leading to this third album in Stellkira. And oh, what a blitzkrieg of impact waits for those willing to listen to these eleven hard hitting sonic punches to the brain and body.

It’s immediately apparent that these gentlemen have studied at the altar of previous crossover units before them along with artists who have a deep affinity for cartoons, movies, and humor on the lyrical front. Caustic, militant screams penetrate the aural landscape, punctuated by gang background action sure to catapult listeners into spastic frenzies – the music moving between aspects of thrash, punk, hardcore, as well as the occasional nod to modern sweeps or squeals (check out the 54 second closer “Tater Tot Eyes” for the latter aspect). Jamison Land and Derrek Tipton attack their axes with the intensity of ten madman looking to escape the loony bin, taking brief reprieve for the next riff parade in small segments – the rhythm section of Tony Hazelip and Daniel Neel up to the challenge of moving all up and down the tempo/groove map.

Certain titles speak for themselves like “Garth, Let My Family Go” that includes some neat guitar harmony action or the S.O.D. meets GWAR-like barrage for “The Hash Slinging Slasher” – but do not mistake their sense of humor for sacrificing quality on the musical side of things. Much like current favorites Municipal Waste or Toxic Holocaust, the production plus tones very much in your face to maximize the effect that you’ll feel when these tracks come out at peak volume across live stages. There are even aspects of Motörhead, Venom, and Iron Maiden that poke through specific passages, the frantic circular runs for “Eels and Escalators” or low tuned chugging that permeates “The Accountant’s Due (Stab the Katana)” two standouts to the wide array of influences incorporated into the band’s sound.

Another appeasing Andrei Bouzikov cover piece (Municipal Waste, Dust Bolt) puts the cherry on top of Belushi Speed Ball’s ideal crossover thrash approach. Stellkira may seem like it’s over before it begins in 26 minutes, but there are so many adrenaline-fueled, high-octane songs to appreciate, it’ll leave you excited for what comes next as this band’s buzz factor rises.

Belushi Speed Ball on Facebook

Belushi Speed Ball on Instagram

[fbcomments width="580"]