NECRONOMIDOL release their highly anticipated five-song EP, scions of the blasted heath, this Wednesday, June 16. It is their first studio recording since the graduation of beloved and iconic idols Hina and Sari, and the addition of new members back in January.
Being the first studio offering by the new line-up of Kunogi, Michelle, Rei-chan, Okaki, Himari and her omniscient hair makes this EP one of the most eagerly awaited releases of the year. Team Homicidols were lucky enough to be blessed with a preview copy (all it cost was my soul but I wasn’t using it much anyway). It’s a diverse set of tracks by fan-favorite songwriters exploring themes of trauma, entropy and conquest alongside the omnipresent influence of Lovecraftian terror. Here’s a sneak peak:
The EP begins with “SALEM”, a track which NECROMA have been performing live for a few months now. I was lucky enough to see it performed back in February and the choreography is hauntingly dramatic. The song is the lament of two witches and lovers who are about to be burned at the stake. Similar to “END OF DAYS” (which was also composed by Kei Toriki), the song is carried by prominent yet ethereal vocals. NECROMA have always been gutsy in this regard, putting the member’s voices right out in front instead of burying them behind the instrumental tracks. The results here are stunning. My first listen to “SALEM” literally gave me the chills. While NECROMA’s vocals have always been strong, there is a richness and emotional diversity in their voices here that I haven’t heard before.
It seems blasphemous to even think it since the departed Sari and Hina were such iconic members of the group, but after listening to “SALEM” I think NECRONOMIDOL might sound better than ever.
The next three tracks on the EP all have an underlying creepy carnival vibe that helps to tie the beginning and the end of the album together with a cohesive aural bridge.
The first is the bright and manic carousel ride of the dark wave tune, “phantasmagoria cosmos”. Between the Nintendo-core guitar riffs that would make Dragonforce nod and the chirpy vocals singing about happily writhing in the depths of madness, this is quite possibly the most kirakira song in the Darkness Girls’ entire catalog. This is Marianne Shinonome of Kinoco Hotel’s first composition for NECROMA and it is definitely a stand out.
The carnival continues with a marching snare and fairground organ that recklessly transition into an aggressive punkabilly, swing-rock number. The calm vocals of the members contrast with the belligerent tempo keeping the restless song under control while they harmonize about dancing to the edge of hell. It’s as if Nick Cave and Volbeat came together on this one but it’s actually from the mind of Zero-2, the mad genius who gave us VOIDHYMN’s ska-flavored Halloween song ,“SAMHAIN”. This is another high-energy fusion that throws in a metal guitar solo and splits before settling on a genre.
CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT
The next stop is the blast-beat driven roller coaster, “CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT”. This is, I believe, NECROMA’s first song with 100 percent English lyrics (feel free to fact-check me in the comments). The dueling organ and guitar are a really nice touch to this very frenetic piece. It almost feels like a modern musical number and makes me wish that NECROMA had been given the role of the nuns from the Chattering Order of St. Beryl in the Good Omens adaptation. That would have been perfect.
NECROMA saved the most interesting track on the EP for last. This darkwave tune has a definite retro feel with guitar riffs and techno flourishes straight out of City Pop or an 80s TV detective show theme song. Or a 80s horror movie…
The Lament Configuration is, of course, the full name of the puzzle box in Hellraiser that summons the Cenobites. The cheerful vocals in this energetic tune are sung from the perspective of the demons who have arrived to lovingly torture you in very creative ways. This song is composed by Okayan who also wrote “STARRY WISDOM” and “les tenebres sans visage” which I also considered the most intriguing song on VOIDHYM. Their work continues to impress.
While NECRONOMIDOL have theoretically been rebuilding over the past several months, with scions of the blasted heath it doesn’t seem like they’ve missed a step. This EP marks positive movement forward for the unit both musically and vocally. While the five tracks were written by five different composers, the album comes together as a cohesive whole. Current fans will definitely hear more of what they’ve come to love while still encountering plenty of unfamiliar surprises. For new listeners, this EP will serve as an excellent sampler of the diversity of styles that NECROMA has placed their indelible signature on.
NECRONOMIDOL‘s scions of the blasted heath will be released on June 12, 2019, and will be presented in a deluxe six-panel matte digipack with jacket art by the legendary (and controversial) manga artist Jun Hayami. It will be available from your regular retail and streaming sites. Several limited edition packs will also be available on the newly minted Idol Underworld (www.idolunderworld.com).
Also, if you are in Europe during the month of July, you may be fortunate enough to catch NECRONOMIDOL on their 2019 European tour.