Bringing back the disclaimers! It’s not a secret that I’m a huge mark for NECRONOMIDOL, and that their producer, Ricky Wilson, has been a friend to Homicidols.com in what I hope is a mutually fulfilling relationship; that being said, while I never had much reason to think that DEATHLESS would be anything less than great, I made a strong effort to put the relationship behind me for this sucker; I may love idol and I may love dark idol and I may love NECRONOMIDOL, but we don’t build community trust without honesty, and we don’t make other fans by being sycophants.
So. On to the review!
I’m actually going to do something weird and call out old pal Alex’s review, which he published on Monday, to agree vehemently that being able to watch an idol project go from concept to full realization really is something special, and that’s what we’re seeing with the current NECRONOMIDOL — not to slight past members and lineups in any way, but this is a strong-ass unit, with a this-is-it kind of feeling. Yes, the production is as sharp as it’s ever been, but the voices are working really well, too.
About that progression: I fell in love with Necroma over the original “Vulture” MV and the early singles. I almost couldn’t believe they were real — there was black metal and NWOBHM, but there was dance music (evil dance music!), too; the members managed to pull off creepy and menacing without needing to go way the hell over the top (Sari alone could inspire an actual cult following). Things have changed a lot in the roughly 2.5 years that the group has existed, but their path has only been one of progress.
To whit, about a year ago, they released NEMESIS, a very good album that showed what was lurking; a few months later, they followed that with the sublime from chaos born, my personal pick for 2016’s album of the year. The question, then, while turning over 40 percent of the membership in a matter of weeks, was whether Necroma was going to be keep growing, or whether chaos would be their pinnacle.
DEATHLESS laughs at the idea.
What’s interesting is that it’s almost two EPs combined into one piece, with one half firmly in the resurrected-NWOBHM-meets-thrash-meets-black-metal camp and the other no doubt very welcome at a dark dance party, but neither standing out as dominating the other (unless you’re super preferential toward one side, of course).
I’m of course first drawn to the metal side, the opener “End of Days” being accompanied by “KERES THANATOIO,” “NEPENTHE” and the epic closer, “ITHAQUA,” but the dark wave side of the coin — “4.7L,” the well-known “SKULLS IN THE STARS,” “CHUNGKING REDLINE” and “HEXENNACHT” (what a title) — packs a ton of twisted energy, too. Much like chaos, there isn’t really a down moment anywhere on the record, such that I can’t even pretend to want to hold the re-recorded “SKULLS” as a detriment (it’s a signature song, the group is very different, etc.).
Overall, this is a very mature work. It’s smart, it’s dark, it’s … I’m not going to publish all of the lyrics here (helpfully provided in English!), but please trust me when I say that this is some of the blackest, bleakest lyrical work you’ll probably ever hear from idols. The vocals are on point, too, communicating all of that cold emotion in some really unique arrangements that are definitely outside of the idol norm.
There are individual standouts, yes — I’m very partial to the Midnight Oil-meets-Skinny Puppy sounds of “CHUNGKING REDLINE” and the bleak, blasted opener, “End of Days,” with its big-ass chorus — but DEATHLESS is overall so well put-together that I’m already casting side-eye at other idols in the same space; everybody should be watching what the darkness idols are doing, and they should be taking notes.
Added to the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist: