I’m finding it tough to grasp the fact that it’s been two years since Los Angeles, CA’s Nekrogoblikon released Stench. While being one of the silliest, over-the-top albums I picked up in 2011, it was so packed with just the right level of gore, disembowelment, blood and great folk-infused melodic death (as only goblins can deliver) that their dark onslaught just didn’t date! Anybody else out their still more than a little obsessed with “Bears” (with their ‘fur on the outside and darkness within’)? Stench prompted me to head backwards through Nekrogoblikon‘s discography, which at the time meagerly consisted of only one other release – Goblin Island. I expected a bloodbath of Stench caliber, but admittedly outside of it being a reasonably fun listen, I was disappointed as Goblin Island lacked the force, cohesion and concept Nekrogoblikon got so right in Stench. So, what of Power… is it more disappointing than receiving a box of rats at Christmas, or how about more bizarrely disgusting than finding yourself bathing with oodles of slimy slugs?
Power discharges with “Friends in Space”. The track is oddly simple and positive in concept (far from what I expected from these bloodthirsty music-loving goblins) and harkens back to Goblin Island more so than Stench. “Derailed” gives you a good taster of what Nicholas, Tim and Alex are capable of vocally and the track hits you with the the same Stench-filled double vocal attack, bottomless deep growls and deliciously throaty, blackened shrieks that Nekrogoblikon. This time however, the tricksters have added more in the way of clean vocals – honestly, it’s not these cleans that would prompt me to buy the album, but they’re not bad on tracks like “Friends in Space” and my favorite track “Powercore”.
Nekrogoblikon have a catchy, folksy, melodic death sound that brings to mind a brew along the lines of Children of Bodom, Allegaeon, TrollfesT, Finntroll and to some extent, the Avenged Sevenfold and Ballistico side project Pinkly Smooth. In addition to backing vocals, Tim and Alex power the guitars, supplying riffs and solos that are catchy and sometimes sound as though they’ve been pulled straight from a video game (“Friends in Space” being a fine example). These odd moments are balanced out by tracks like “Nothing but Crickets” and “Powercore” where the goblins fling out melodic yet technically remorseless solos that remind me of something Allegaeon would put out.
There’s a heavy keyboard presence on Power, and like the guitar work, the keys go from sounding delicate and almost music-box like, to taking on a more serious tone and in an instant, Nicholas and Aaron mind-fuck you by dropping you straight into what feels like some warped video game world. The odd thing about it though is that it’s so well blended together, that the different streams and all their silliness somehow work, and for a bunch of troublesome goblins they’re not short of talent!
Power has (dare I say) a current, modern sounding production style carried out by the horde themselves, with the mix courtesy of Matt Hyde (Deftones and Children of Bodom). The vocals are the definite focus which makes it easy to pick up on the kooky lyrics, but at the same time you’re able to pick up on Brandon’s moments of deep bass grandeur in “Powercore” and Eddie’s boisterously good-natured drum fills on “Derailed”.
Power is fun and entertaining, and follows along the wacky path carved by Goblin Island rather than the fetid reek of Stench. “Nothing but Crickets” and “Giraffe” leave me feeling that Nekrogoblikon were trying a little too hard to ride the carnage left by “Bears” and neither track hits me with sufficient violence. Power‘s shining moments are the tracks “Derailed” and “Powercore”, both are crushing, showcase hard-hitting instrumentation and enough punchy vocal moments to keep me spinning Power as I wait anxiously for the goblin’s next putrid release.
Rating: 3.0/5.0 — ‘More disappointing than a box full of rats on Christmas?’
Label: Adrenaline PR
Websites: Facebook.com/Nekrogoblikon | Myspace/Nekrogoblikon
Release Dates: EU: 2013.08.27 | US: 08.27.2013