Sound — 3
Not everybody likes listening to music sung by a goblin. That shouldn't need saying, but metalheads are so fond of strangely humourless novelty bands that there's a real gap in the market for California's Nekrogoblikon. Their first two full-lengths, if not breathtakingly original, were passable vehicles for entertainment in a genre which has already covered porn, aliens and even parrots. The riffs weren't fantastic but if a song about the "Goblin Christmas Armageddon" was ever a good idea, then this band offered the definitive interpretation. With that in mind we ought to consider that the whole thing is faintly ridiculous, and that new EP "Power" is not to be taken seriously under any circumstances. Everybody might have a bit more fun that way, and I won't tell anyone if you won't. Got it? Good... "Power" is a certifiable Bit of Fun which demystifies various styles of symphonic metal with a dollop of folk and a total lack of gravity. At a very brief 19 minutes, it refuses to settle and instead approaches each song with a slightly different tack. "Friends (In Space)" spins out harmonized riffs from the Gothenburg bargain bin, "Powercore" smacks the low C string like a Kerrang! TV ad bumper and "Bells & Whistles," as the name suggests, boasts a formidable array of sound effects including pan flutes, xylophones and human screams which, at the very least, relieve some of the tedium. Closing track "Giraffe" trades off accordion and lead guitar, bringing proceedings to a close with the sickly day-glo taste exclusive to metal bands who use the great German squeezebox. The cagey rasps of Nicholas Von Doom (hint: he's the one in the goblin mask) are squarely on the beat and high up the register, in a similar vein to The Black Dahlia Murder, but compared to the band's esteemed countrymen, his subject matter is rather less morose.
Lyrics — 3
Below are three quotes from "Power": "F--k it! Goblins forever! Friendship is the only option! Let's eat our new giraffe." "Space, space in space, lots of space! Three void, four void, butt hole, f--k you!" "You are a joke, and no one's laughing." It can be left to you to decide which of these is most representative. What we know for sure is that Nekrogoblikon revel in sounding silly, and their tales of beasties and space adventures come with tongue firmly in cheek. It's hard to imagine the above quotes appealing to anybody over the age of 13, and the same goes for the rest of the EP's lyrics but if the band don't care about that then neither should the listeners.
Overall Impression — 3
We agreed at the outset not to take this too seriously. "It's only a joke! It's not meant to be the best album of all time," we said. Well, okay, that it ain't, but sadly that doesn't spare the blushes of what is a quite unlovable piece of work on any level. If you're looking for laughs, I've heard "Airplane" is good, and you can stream that sort of thing straight to your laptop these days. If you're looking for music, buy any metal record released in the last three years and there's a good chance that it'll be at least as good as this. The only fair reasons for giving "Power" more than a courtesy listen are if you're really into goblins, really into giraffes or particularly enjoy the masochistic pleasures of dodgy metal. Avoid.