Belushi Speed Ball – Stellkira


(Read in the voice of Shiro Shinobi from The Legend of Korra) And in this corner of the internet, clocking in at a runtime of 35 minutes with 14 new tracks – the non-thrashing hipster posers – the Spinelli Slammers of Louisville – Belushi Speed Ball return to the scene with their latest full-length “Stellkira”! Will the Belushi crew outdo themselves? Will there be even more SpongeBob references? Read the review to find out! (Y’all have no idea just how much fun I had writing that!) 

Artist: Belushi Speed Ball

Album: Stellkira

Label: Independent

Release Date: May 10th, 2024

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Review originally written for Dovendyr – Heavy Metal Historian can be found here.

After almost two years, Belushi Speed Ball is finally back with their latest full-length, “Stellkira”! Ever since I saw Belushi Speed Ball in Baltimore a year or two ago, they have been one of my favorite modern bands. Their set was a ton of fun – with plenty of high-energy antics, Nerf guns and LaCroix, and great crossover pizza thrash. I loved their first full-length and eagerly waited for a follow-up. “Stellkira” was announced in late February and I was beyond excited. And now that it’s finally here, I can say it was well worth the wait.

The artwork paying homage to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira is absolutely incredible! I love the detail, the shades of red, and the composition! It all works well together. The whole red figure takes up much of the cover, so you don’t need much going on in the background. And there is enough detail to prevent one shade of red from overpowering the others. Also, the Stella on the bike is such a cool touch and stands out fantastically! The purple of the logo is a slight bit difficult to read, but that’s just a nitpick if I’m being honest. The “Stellkira” artwork is fantastic, and one of my favorites of the year.

The album starts with “My Favorite Color is Pizza” – a track practically built for the Ninja Turtles! Leo, Donnie, Mikey, and Raph would absolutely be cheering along to that infectious chorus. Hell, they’d probably sing along with the backing vocals on “This is the Peak” too. Both tracks were released before the album and were two of my favorite tracks from the album. They’re both incredibly fun and engaging, but I think I like “My Favorite Color is Pizza” slightly more. It’s got a lot of audience participation moments which I think will make it a staple in Belushi Speed Ball shows for years to come!

The writing on this album feels a bit more complex than on their previous full length. Songs like “Eels and Escalators”, “Glass Bones and Paper Skin IV” and “The Hash Slinging Slasher” all demonstrate this. The riffs sound more involved thanks to some simple, yet clever fills. (Coincidentally, they also account for a good amount of the SpongeBob references on the album.) Other tracks, like “Griffith Did Literally Everything Wrong” and “Get to the Point” also feel more complexly written, the latter of which seems to pull slight influence from Molly Hatchet. However I think the best example would be “The Accountant’s Due (Stab the Katana)”. That track is one of the best of the entire album in my opinion, encapsulating a balanced, heavy, thrashy sound.

One thing you’ll notice with “Stellkira” is that there are fewer skits than before. The previous album had a few skits, which I thought were kind of a neat touch. Hell there is a skitless version of “What, Us Worry?” that shortens the run time by about three minutes. The skits on “Stellkira” work well as breathers between the songs. I do kinda wish there was one more skit, placed before “Griffith did Literally Everything Wrong”. But the exclusion of a third skit doesn’t ruin the experience. Out of the two skits on “Stellkira”, I think “PG-13” is better. The “That’s the Way (I Like It)” parody is hilarious, as is the brief “Pogs” chant towards the end!

The closing track, “Metroidvania”, is a bit strange to me. It’s a four minute track that has got bits of rap and dungeon synth mixed together. And honestly, while it has a few neat moments, it’s just not for me. I don’t think it’s bad; it just feels very out of place compared to the rest of the album. I commend Belushi Speed Ball for working with guest musicians to try something new. (You know how at live shows, bands will sometimes have opening songs before the band plays? Like an intro track that leads into the set? I can see “Metroidvania” being that for a Belushi Speed Ball set.)

Belushi Speed Ball has taken a massive step forward with “Stellkira”. Almost every single song hits it out of the park and those that don’t still have enjoyable moments. It’s vibrant, more complexly written, mixed well, and a ton of fun from start to finish. The Belushi crew show signs of progression, while still capturing the energy and essence of their previous releases. Even their music videos for this album show this. Right now, “Stellkira” is one of my favorite albums of the year. If you aren’t listening to Belushi Speed Ball, then you are missing out on the best in modern metal! 

Belushi Speed Ball can be found at the following:

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