“Beautiful” is a word that I don’t normally use to describe an album here at AMG, and especially in Casa de los Grymm. “Fun” is even less of a descriptor. What was it again that Euronymous wanted none of via his record label again? But I took a shot at an unknown (to me, at least) group of Japanese noise brigands (with a former Boredom, Toyohito Yoshikawa, in its ever-growing ranks) known as Vampillia. With quite a few releases under their belt (seventeen, according to their website), their newest, the very wordy Some Nightmares Take You Aurora Rainbow Darkness, is their first full-length, and it’s a good snapshot into their crazy world.
But you wouldn’t know it immediately as the album welcomes you quietly with its unassuming title track. A gentle piano beckons you to a peaceful, warm entrance before the violins play a beautiful, moving melody for most of the song’s duration. The ability for Some Nightmares (both song and album) to take you by the hand through different emotions and soundscapes is nothing short of breathtaking. It reminded me of quiet mornings during the winter in my old home in New Hampshire, watching the snow quietly build up on my dad’s dormant barbecue grill. Beautiful and serene. And that lasts about halfway in, when the drums start crashing, weird feedback approaches… and then back to serenity, but in a stranger, darker context.
And there is no shortage of curveballs and left-hand paths taken on Some Nightmares. The minute-long “Rainbow on You” is a happy swing beat with death grunts and flowers. “Silences” is a mish-mash (literally) of choirs, blast beats, somber violins, and happy piano melodies. But do you truly want to experience the sheer insanity of a band comprised of former members of Boredoms? Then look no further than the addictive ditty (and “Song of the Year – Grymm Edition” candidate) “The Volcano Song”. If Mothra needed a new theme song, this would do the trick just fine… pianos, violins, a choir making phonetic sounds, blast beats (with two drummers!), jazz licks, death vocals, a dude doing soprano singing… this song is what a dance-off between Mothra and Pikachu would sound like before one of them got served. Sheer funky, uncontrolled chaos. The Jarboe-infused closer “Kizuna” is a great way to lay one down to rest, a beautiful track to help lull one back to a sense of peace and tranquillity after an album’s worth of sheer whatthefuckdom.
Some Nightmares was recorded by Ben Frost at Greenhouse Studios (same studios Sigur Ros and Bjork utilized), and for a noise record, it sounds pretty damn good. The violins sound lush, the piano has the right amount of reverberation, and the choir of vocalists sound amazing. The only time the sound gets chaotic is with the actual recording of the drums. Otherwise, it’s a damn good production job. Musically, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this record, but I enjoyed the album’s entirety immensely. Sure, it got a bit repetitive over the last few tracks, but it left me wanting more of its craziness. And as a current resident of Florida, the fact that someone from that state is asking for more crazy is saying something.
Some Nightmares Take You Aurora Rainbow Darkness is a wild, wacky, and beautiful insight into the world of Vampillia. If you can keep your mind open (and your eardrums somewhat prepared beforehand), you will be kept in shock, awe, and getting your groove on.