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Good American Folk Metal.... Seems like a bit of an oxymoron but alas, this Californian band has done it, and done it well. First off, their whole Goblin shtick is entertaining; it's fun and it's funny, but ultimately it’s a gimmick. Ridiculous image aside, this release is actually quite good. Putting aside the band’s place of origin and subject matter, the music its self is a great mixture of folk metal and melodic death metal with a slight black metal twist.
The guitar-work is fantastic, with some really interesting shred all over the place, in addition to amazingly melodic leads and brutal rhythm sections. The keyboards bring all the folk; without it, this band would be a pretty straight melo-death offering. These guys definitely love Finntroll and Children of Bodom, end of story. The drumming and bass won't particularly wow you but they don't detract from the experience. However, it is in this section that I will take away some points. Finally we have the vocalist, the embodiment of the Goblinism that engulfs this band; this man truly sounds like a goblin. His shrieks and screams are amazing, albeit a bit raw and unpolished. Though the vocalists screams, grunts and growls may be great, his clean vocals are pretty terrible; they sound like a 14 year old kid simply messing around not knowing what he's doing, so elitists should approach with caution.
While this album does have some filler songs in it, overall it's a really great listen. The filler tracks on this album are, for the most part, all lumped in at the end. A couple of unnecessary (but still entertaining) cover's and a stupid techno version of the track "In The Hall of the Goblin King". In addition, to the three fillers at the end, there is also one unnecessary instrumental track slapped in the middle of the CD called “The Goblin King's Wrath”. This song is nothing but guitar wankery and spoken word sections, attempting to conjure a few laughs from the listener. Ignoring the filer tracks, this album still has at least eight really good songs, four of which being truly brilliant. Stand out tracks to give special attention to are “Goblin Island”, “Goblins Ahoy”, “Goblins Are Better Than Trolls”, and “In The Hall of the Goblin King”.
All in all, I would give this album a score of about 85%. I'd recommend this release to anyone who's a fan of bands such as Finntroll, Norheim, Children of Bodom and have a healthy sense of humor.
The result is fairly awesome. When I first heard Nekrogoblikon, I was a little worried for two reasons: I thought they might be yet another gimmick band, being hilarious but playing terrible music (*cough* Alestorm *cough*), and they were an iTunes recommendation. Fortunately, iTunes got it right for once. "Goblin Island" is awesome as well as hilarious. Every single song is a tribute to goblins.
The vocals are a big focus on this album, which has both its pros and its cons. The vocalist mainly sticks to his high-pitched “goblin shriek”, while he sometimes delves into clean vocals and the guitarist provides backing growls. In general, the vocals help keep the flow of the album steady. While repetitive, they work very well with the whole goblin theme. The cleans are not the best cleans ever, and sometimes distract a bit from the music, but on the whole the vocals are successful, if not spectacular. In addition, every single song is about goblins, which may bore some listeners but is fine, as the band has made it clear that they really, really like goblins.
The guitar work is very distinctive and melodic on “Goblin Island”. The guitarist often uses tapping on lower strings as main riffs, and these work very well and are pretty impressive. The riffing and soloing is usually centered around melodic mid-range leads. All in all, the guitar work is impressive and competent at the very least, and excellent at its best, though not guitar-god worthy.
You can’t really hear the bass at all, which makes me wonder if there is one, since when this album was recorded the vocalist and guitarist were the only band members. Too bad; it would have greatly improved the album.
For a drum machine, the drum patterns are quiet sophisticated and well-thought-out. However, sometimes they are a little too low in the mix; this is a predominantly guitar-oriented album. The drums can also sound a bit tinny (obviously due to the programming).
Unfortunattely, the music is occasionally jarring and disorienting, most notably on “Goblin Christmas Armageddon Part II” and the title track. Goblin Christmas Armageddon Parts I and II sound completely different, Part I being an epic metal anthem while Part II is closer to a goblin-themed pop song. On the title track, the bridge abruptly stops and goes into a solo that ends equally as abruptly, throwing the listener off. However, these odd sections are infrequent, and don’t distract from the album as a whole.
On the whole, this is a fantastic debut album. While there is some deviance and there are “meh” riffs, this album is very competent and hilarious as well. Shredding guitar parts, melodic leads, and brutally heavy sections complete this album and make Nekrogoblikon a band to watch out for in the future.
It is common for metal bands to attempt to give fans something new and different to listen to in today's industry. We here metal fused with everything from electronica to jazz. We here bands dedicate themselves to all kinds of silly things...ninjas, trolls, beer, pirates, and the resurrection of satanic demons. No one succeeds at making music as strange as Nekrogolikon though, and no one does it as well either.
Nekrogoblikon gives us melodic death/folk metal complete with epic keyboards, guitars that can lay down quirky grooves or shred your face off, and vocals that range from goblin screeches to deep death metal-like gutturals. And if you haven't figured it out already, the lyrics are all about GOBLINS! Goblins eating pirate skin, goblins eating troll balls, goblins eating filthy humans, and goblins eating...well, all kinds of strange things.
Goblin Island shows that Nekrogoblikon has some great potential. There are some very great moments on this disc that really make you want to be a fan of this band. Certain points where their superb musicianship and fantastic song writing ability shines through and overpowers their childish humor. You can really appreciate these guys when they are shredding it up and taking their goblin lyrics seriously. And I use the word seriously lightly, what I mean is "a little more serious than usual."
Unfortunately, there are only a few songs where they stick to this formula the entire time, and the rest of the songs are ruined by sporadic outbursts of immaturity and amateur-ness. One example of this is the clean vocals. They aren't funny, and actually ruin the mood of the entire cd. The sung lyrics sound like they are trying too hard to be funny and in the end it just sounds forced. Goblins flying down from space to stuff babies in cradles of razors? Funny. Goblins attacking and eating pirates? Hilarious. But the clean vocals just make the band sound immature, and even though they are meant to be a humorous band, it's hard to take them seriously after hearing a song like Army of Goblins. The fact that they are a goblin metal band is funny enough, they don't need to push it too hard with stuff like that. It only lessens their music in my opinion.
Goblin Island is an enjoyable album that is fun to listen to. But there are moments where you realize they could be much better if they could take themselves a little more seriously. I look forward to what they will give us in the future and hope for the best.
Nekrogoblikon are something of a unique band. Combining epic, symphonic folk keyboard phrases with death metal guitar, vocals and rhythm, they carve a very distinctive sound from the first second of the album. In addition, each member of the band is undeniably skilled in their respective musical areas. From fast, technical shred passages to the occasional melodic chorus and goblinesque everything else, there isn't a single misplaced note. We can establish that Nekrogoblikon are original, skilled and creative, even without getting to the nitty-gritty. That should say good things.
"Goblin Island" includes tracks about Goblins, Space Goblins, Pirate Goblins, Goblins being better than Trolls, Goblin Christmas, Mighty Morphin' Goblin Rangers, Goblin Dancing and other areas of general interest to Goblins and their associates. The Goblinated version of the Power Rangers theme was of particular delight, and is a great example of the kind of free-spirited, somewhat-childlike-with-aspects-of-teenagerism humour that should appeal to most people. Keep in mind, this IS a death metal record, so it's not all laughs and merrymaking. There's headbanging to be done to this album. Lots of it.
Of particular interest are two particular instruments - the keyboard and guitar(s). Logic dictates that death metal guitar and folky, melodic, sometimes epic keyboards would work against eachother. Not so, at least in this case. In another backhand to the face, metal proves that it is not to be judged, at least until after it mangles your expectations. Even when playing melodically and rhythmicly unrelated (don't worry, it's still harmonically related, so it won't rape your ears) parts, they seem to form into a brilliant Goblinoid tapestry. The presence of keyboards also keeps the band from being a true "wall of noise" death metal band, so newcomers to extreme metal will probably find Nekrogoblikon quite accessible. A warning to those after exceptionally harsh death metal: there is quite a lot of melody, through instrumentalisation and vocals, to be found on this record. This band isn't a walk in the park, but they're not a stroll through hell, either.
Nekrogoblikon - delightfully funny, musically unpredictable, technically exceptional. That's two thumbs and a tentacle up from me, and that's coming from a power metal fan. Highly reccomended.
What do we have here? We have Goblin metal here. And to tell you the truth, I’m not quite sure whether Nekrogoblikon is a parody inspired by bands like Finntroll and Children of Bodom or a sincere attempt at making music, with a sense of humour. Just kidding. Metal is certainly a diverse genre of music. People continue to take it into new corners. There's been ‘Viking metal’ and ‘Troll metal’, we’ve heard and enjoyed it and what people have made it. More recently, ‘Pirate metal’ appeared with bands like ‘Verbal Deception’ and ‘Alestorm’.
And now this.
…This Californian ‘Goblin metal’. Gimmicky? Check. Cheesy? Check? Fun? Check. Check? Check. ‘Nekrogoblikon’ isn’t terrible. In ‘Goblin Island’ they have some good fun, catchy melodies, decent keyboards, passable vocals, and ridiculous lyrics. Before you condemn Nekrogoblikon for their appearance and their songs like ‘Goblins are better than trolls’ give them a try for a laugh and you might discover that you enjoy… a few of their songs such as ‘In the hall of the goblin king’. There is also an ‘In Flames’ cover with a goblin twist, (Goblins of the black rain) and the power rangers theme song, (the goblin rangers theme) and a bonus techno track at the end which the song ‘Army of goblins’ is based on.
And lets not forget ‘Goblin Christmas Armageddon parts I and II. Part I is similar to their other songs, but part II seems more like the kind of music I would expect these guys to be playing. Pop. I admit; it’s fun to listen to, but hard to take seriously. I'm guessing that's what they were going for.
***TRIVIA***I actually pre-ordered this album because I'm that kind of guy... I sent Canadian money back when it wasn’t stronger than the American dollar so I drew a little goblin on my order form to smooth things over. When I got my CD it came with a little note that said “hope you don’t mind, we used your picture for our CD art” (not an exact quote). Well I suppose I had no choice. They didn't get my permission but... I hereby officially give my permission for that to be done (the picture on the disc of a goblin ripping off someone’s skin is now legally cool).
Imagine if you found a band that, aside from having awesome kickass riffs, wonderful solos, and all around wonderful music, had a sense of humor. That is exactly what Nekrogoblikon is.
The album starts off, right from the get-go, with a very healthy sense of humor with the unforgettable words “Wow, Hey Tim!” “What is it Nicky?” “What is that thing in the sky?” “AAAHHHH!!” From there it only gets better.
This album is very folky in its general feel, and has a lot of great keyboard passages playing with everything from pirate songs to christmas carols. The songs are mostly based on heavy, somewhat brutal, death metal riffs, that, somehow, mesh quite nicely with the keyboards to form a sound that’s not quite death metal, and not quite melodeath, and yet still not quite symphonic, yet not quite not. The sound here is very hard to place. Everything here is very melodic, yet the riffs would not feel totally out of place on a good old fashioned DM album. I believe that the closest thing soundwise that I’ve come across is Arch enemy, but that is still a major stretch.
All in all, though everything meshes together nicely to create a wonderful assortment of goblin themed tomfoolery and catchy melodic riffs. The solos are especially good, as the guitars are quite epic, yet at the same time funny.
Half the fun of this album is in the lyrics. With tales of goblins attacking pirates on the seas, causing Armageddon on Christmas day, and enslaving trolls, you can’t help but laugh.
Also, it ends in a goblin-themed heavy metal remake of the power rangers theme.
Dear sweet Satan, send these people on tour with Finntroll!!!