Nekrogoblikon’s Power Outage

  • Sammy O'Hagar

A few years ago, a buddy of mine and I had a tradition of getting obscenely blazed and listening to DirecTV’s music channels while his girlfriend took the requisite 74 minutes getting ready to go out. We’d usually settle on the metal channel after a while. Aforementioned buddy and I had different tastes in heavy music: he’s more into hardcore-infused stuff, and me, well, you all know the pretentious horseshit I love by now. An Amon Amarth song came on and he gave me a cockeyed look. I struggled to come up with the best way to explain the appeal of the band to him, as there’s a lot to love about Amon Amarth even for people not predisposed to like that kind of metal. Looking back now, I could have said the riffs, the grooves, how every goddamn song is an anthem, or how they’re unabashedly dorky in an era where irony rules the day. But through a weed-congested brain, I said, “See… they think they’re Vikings.” He nearly fell off the couch laughing, and we switched over to whatever channel would be most likely to play some R. Kelly.

I feel like the world is trying to sell me on Nekrogoblikon the same way (which it must be stated that no matter what you think of them, that name is brilliantly stupid while being over-the-top awesome at the same time). So far, music has sadly lacked goblin-themed metal, so NKROGLKN are doing their part to ably fill that void. And while what they’re doing is arguably a valuable public service, a band needs to be more than just a concept, even if it is for the good of metal and humanity as a whole. Power, the band’s new EP, is a lot of fun and has more than its fair share of killer riffs and goofy choices in orchestration. But the thing is… that’s it. Even in Power’s abbreviated length, there’s not much more than the occasional “ha.” moment or good-enough riff. Is that enough to do justice for the goblin world to which they’re paying due?

With most bands like this, the problem is they don’t bother writing any goddamn songs. This reduces almost every track on Power to well-padded good riffs. This wouldn’t be a problem if the padding weren’t made up mostly of melodeath, which as most everyone knows, in 2013, melodeath has played every riff possible in every minor key. The EP finally gets around to doing something substantial with “Giraffe,” a nifty little slab of speed/power metal with goblin vocals and hooters. It wraps up (and wraps up Power) with group vocals shouting the song’s title at random intervals with distant laughter in between. This is a perfect summation of what came before it: something that’s really funny to the guys making it that’s most likely going to be completely lost to anyone else hearing it. Maybe after a few bowls of something with red hairs, it would approach being something more than a bunch of fucking goofballs thinking they’re goblins. But once you wake up on your couch covered in a thick film of Pringle crumbs to whatever infomercial Comedy Central’s running, Nekrogoblikon go back to being a lame inside joke that’s gone way further than it ever should have.

Nekrogoblikon’s Power comes out August 27. Watch a teaser for the EP here and pre-order it here.

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