Since their inception in 2014 NECRONOMIDOL has been extremely productive, feeding their fan base six EPs, a single and two full albums. Despite serving up new material on a regular basis, the current quintet has cultivated a fan base with a very vocal appetite for more. Underneath the striking imagery and Cthulhu mythos is a premier group of vocalists who perform tirelessly in Japan, have brought their intensely joyous brand of darkness to Europe twice and are soon returning to the United States for a third time.
On September 29th, NECROMA will be releasing VOIDHYMN, their third full album in three years. The new ten-track offering consists of six entirely new songs and four re-recordings of previously released tracks.
We at Homicidols were lucky enough to be offered an early listen to VOIDHYMN and will be presenting a track-by-track review in reverse order because:
- It’s more Satanic that way, and
- To first answer the key question in most everyone’s mind: “Why did they re-record ‘Skulls in the Stars’ when the Deathless version already had Himari’s vocals?”
Homicidols Album Review Scale:
Five Heartbleeds : Both in relation to itself and music as a whole, this album could not possibly be any better.
Four Heartbleeds : This is a very damn good record, and you should probably buy it and listen to it all the time and consider starting a website dedicated to the artists that made it and albums like it.
Three Heartbleeds : More good than bad, but not great; one or two awesome songs can’t get it over the hump.
Two Heartbleeds : More bad than good, and lacks the kind of standout track that can take it out of the crappiness wallow.
One Heartbleed : This is a bad, bad piece of work. Do not buy this.
Zero Heartbleeds: People associated with this should be ashamed of themselves; there’s pride to be had in any effort made to meet a goal, but that’s your only reward. Please don’t make music anymore.
SKULLS IN THE STARS
This crowd favorite was originally released on the 2015 EP, ETRANGER, and was included on the first full album, NEMESIS as well as the follow-up album Deathless. Even though this is the fourth time the song has appeared on a NECROMA album (and the second time the title has been stylized in ALL CAPS) it is still a incredibly worthwhile addition to the discography for one simple reason: guitars.
NECROMA performs live in two formations: with the Necroma Band, and as a stand-alone vocal and dance unit. The VOIDHYMN recording of “Skulls in the Stars” is essentially a Necroma Band version with dirty guitars taking the lead instrumental role instead of dark, pounding keyboards. Just as seeing NECROMA with or without the Necroma Band is a life-changing experience, the VOIDHYMN version of this song will enhance any musical library.
Besides, “Skulls in the Stars” is an awesome, awesome song that should be included on EVERY album, not just NECROMA’s.
“All hail the void!”
This rousing Highland march with darkwave keyboards substituting for bagpipes is propelled by fuzzy guitars and the member’s call-and-response vocals. As the march progresses, the driving pace is joined by power metal arpeggios until the guitars suddenly drop into an almost acoustic quiet. This short reverie is startled by a chanting male choir followed by screaming guitar solos and a bass line that would make Les Claypool smile. The members’ vocals return soon to be joined by the male chorus guaranteeing that the finale of this song is going to generate pure pandemonium in their live shows.
les tenebres sans visage
This song’s ominous opening flowers into upbeat darkwave incorporating alternative J-rock sensibilities reminiscent of Urbangarde expect for the chorus which emulates an anisong power ballad in the best possible way. Musically, this is probably the brightest and most intriguing song on the album while, lyrically, it is a fatalistic and tentative love song (the title translates to, “the darkness without a face”). It’s replay value is huge and, so far, has revealed something new on every listen.
Released as an EP earlier this year, this is a sunny power ballad that serves as NECROMA’s most direct call to Cthulhu yet with a joyfully addictive chorus. Written by Yakkun from the otaku-driven, nu metal death pop band, Kiba of Akiba, “STRANGE AEONS” is a brilliant juxtaposition of night haunting terror and rainbow lollipops. Someone needs to resurrect Fame or Glee just for the chance to see a mob of smiling, synchronized teens dancing through their high school cafeteria singing:
“Burn your soul away! The Final Day! And gaze into the abyss…”
Originally appearing on the 2016 EP, From Chaos Born, this re-recording includes the vocals of Rei and Himari who have joined since that release. This haunting song has become one the most frequent openers at NECROMA’s live shows and serves as a highlight of the member’s startling vocal talent.
Unlike “STRANGE AEONS” and “les tenebres sans visage” which juxtapose darkness and light, “INNSMOUTH” is nothing but beautiful, beautiful darkness. Lovecraft’s novella, Shadow Over Innsmouth is one of the cornerstones of both the Cthulhu mythos and modern terror in art and literature and this song guides the listener on a figurative journey through that story. Driving bass and drums slowly emerge from the moody darkwave only to slowly subside again while lilting vocals coalesce into a more urgent chorus that drives forward into the unknown. The song is incredibly effective in evoking the tale, the disturbing otherness of the town and the people therein and, in the end, a terrifying loss of self.
When Maniac first saw the VOIDHYMN tracklist he wrote: “I’m particularly drawn to ‘SAMHAIN’ and hereby demand that it be a tribute to Halloween, the old gods of the Celts and Glenn Danzig”. While only one of his three demands were met, I have a feeling that he will be in a forgiving mood as “SAMHAIN” is a tribute to Halloween and ska.
That’s right. Ska.
WE HAVE A SKA-INFLUENCED NECROMA SONG ABOUT FREAKING HALLOWEEN!!!!
This song is a gift from Zero-2 of POIKKEUS, a hardcore punk band out of Osaka who sounds like vintage Suicidal Tendencies. This combination of darkwave and ska is pure, novel genius and definitely a highlight of the album (and 2018 in general).
Playful laughter and childish, chanting voices are soon overlaid with spoken word as this song breaks into a driving darkwave melody about a heartbroken girl seeking a contract to become a vengeance dealing magical girl. It is equal parts beautiful and unnerving delivered through a fascinatingly complex vocal arrangement.
The title being a Latin construction for “creation of death”, this somber post punk song with dreamlike vocals delivers like a collaboration between the Cocteau Twins and the Sisters of Mercy. It is written by Kei Toriki, a guitarist in the Necroma Band who was also responsible for writing “End Of Days”, the opener to Deathless (and also does musical arrangements for SAKA SAMA).
If Scott Ian from Anthrax joined a recording session for Siouxsie and the Banshees, it might sound something like this. Originally released as an EP in 2017, the song’s single fuzzy guitar lets the vocals shine during the verses and soar in the chorus. This crunchy punk metal tune is the work of Mr. Perkele who also writes songs for Hanako-san including the spectacular “Rose of Killer”.
In The End:
Overall, VOIDHYMN is a joyful celebration of darkness. It is a compelling showcase of the NECRONOMIDOL voice as it has developed over the past four years while assimilating new, unforseen elements (Ska!!) into their signature dark mix.
If you are not lucky enough to be in Japan, you will be able to get the CD version of VOIDHYMN from NECRONOMIDOL’s Bandcamp page or other Japanese retail websites. The digital version of the album will be released on Bandcamp as well as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and other services.
For the opportunity to see them live in the United States, they will be performing at the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland, Oregon from October 5th – 7th and then on tour with Oyasumi Hologram in New York and Pennsylvania from November 9th – 11th, 2018.
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