We all have a little touch of crazy inside us. You know what I mean; trapped laughter that rumbles out with such force it makes your belly hurt. Sadly with all the hullabaloo and day-to-day grind we forget to stop and breath, but more importantly, we forget to laugh. American melo-death merchants, Nekrogoblikon have made it their mission to remind us that tapping into our crazy and embracing the silly is just downright necessary and I support that! Fusing together modern production, comedic themes, various forms of metal, cornball b-grade horror and of course, goblins, Nekrogoblikon‘s catalogue has grown rather well since their debut back in 2007. While Goblin Island introduced listeners to the basement dwellers and their hyper-catchy lunacy, I must concede that the rough around the edges feel dragged down the album’s charm. Stench hit the shelf four years later, and it was packed with just the right whiff of melody versus technicality, the album captured lighting in a bottle. Power followed suit and though entertaining, it lacked the charge I wanted, leaving only minimal lasting bite. That brings us to Heavy Meta…
From the opening of “The End of Infinity” this pompous horde of goblins don’t let up. A nifty chiptune-like melody leads into earwormy lyrics like “Babies, children, women and men get ready to implode on the count of ten. One… Two… TEN!” delivered in Scorpion’s goblin-like scream that bears some resemblance to Illnath‘s Narrenschiff. Sinking deeper into the filth, dense growls play well against the keyboards chime and also allow some breathing room from the sharp vocal barrage. Bready’s drum patterns are interesting, convoluted and surprisingly catchy, adding to rather than detracting from the melodious yet schizophrenic guitar soloing. Nekrogoblikon walk a very fine line between melody and technicality and “The End of Infinity” is a prime example of this.
Nekrogoblikon have been rather clever in the construction of Heavy Meta. Each track begins with something a little different and more quirky than the track before, something memorable that knocks you on your ass before settling into Nekrogoblikon‘s core sound (a fusion of Finntroll‘s folk, Children of Bodom and Soilwork‘s melodic death broken apart by bursts The Human Abstract‘s Neo-classical progginess). By way of example, a batty Baroque style opening kicks “We’ve Had Enough” into high gear, “Bring Us More” brings a dish of steaming rockabilly to the goblin feast and “Mood Swing” puts on display the oddball skills of Scorpion and Fingers on keys.
Digging deeper exposes some enjoyable and unexpected vocal diversity employed by the brood. In addition to the earlier mentioned screams and growls, they change things up in “We’ve Had Enough” and “We Need a Gimmick” with clean vocals that hint to the singing style of alternative rocker Gerard Way and the more foreboding style of Marilyn Manson. “Let’s Get Fucked” is deliciously confused, initially barraging you with the aggression of the late Wayne Static (Static-X) and later introducing the guest contributions of Andrew W. K. who brings in elements of his album I Get Wet including his recommendation for the track to “sound as party as we could make it sound.” To further exacerbate the weirdness, the Muse deja vu becomes quite uncanny around this point also.
Heavy Meta is a busy, well constructed album that hits hard and fast with only a small amount of filler. With repeat listens it becomes evident that “Snax & Violence” and “Nekrogoblikon” are unnecessary when compared to the soaring strength of say “We’ve Had Enough,” “Bring Us More” and “Full Body Xplosion.” Stench remains Nekrogoblikon‘s strongest output and the best starting point for anybody new to the band’s sound. That said, Heavy Meta is a great follow up with improved focus on bass, but also enhanced dynamics, that ditches the cheese of Power and instead makes use of many of the inspirations that made Stench potent.