Hands on Necronomidol’s “DEATHLESS” Limited Edition vinyl

The Necronomidol project grew up a lot in 2017. After years perfecting and refining a now definitive sound, in the last months the ultra-dark Idol unit really took off and shown to both Japan and the world its true potential, bringing the five girls to perform in Europe (with an upcoming U.S Tour on the way) and release a new amazing single, as well as their second full-length album DEATHLESS, that gained widespread critical acclaim from several headlines and blogs.

I too thought that DEATHLESS was a great record. It’s an album that brought Necronomidol on a whole another level, both in terms of sound and overall quality, experimenting with different influences while being cohesive, and exposing a more mature and enjoyable side of the unit’s sound: surely one of the highest peaks from the Alternative/Underground Idol scene this year.

The girls and their team really worked hard this year to make the Necronomidol project stand out, and the results speak for themselves. But before this great year for the ultra-dark Idol unit comes to an end, Necronomidol has one more surprise in store for their fans: a new vinyl release.

Just like their debut record Nemesis, DEATHLESS too is getting an analog release, a limited edition printed and distributed by French label Specific Recordings, with whom I have collaborated several times in the past. As great fans of Necronomidol, these guys not only took the chance to bring this record on vinyl format to the fans, they also gave it a new look, thanks to the hand of French artist Pierre Weird, who drawn a brand new cover for the record. As shown by these pictures, the result is nothing short of amazing.

 

The re-design affected the vinyl itself too, and it honestly looks beautiful. Pictures can’t possibly capture the real color, but this Sari green is stunning to see once you hold the record in your hands.

 

As for the sound, it was a lot of fun to hear this record on my system. I’m generally a headphone guy, but hearing the opener END OF DAYS and its violent riff and blast beats on my speakers honestly made me smile like a child on Christmas day. I’d say it made me bald, if I already wasn’t bald.

Necronomidol’s DEATHLESS Limited Edition vinyl will be up for pre-order on December 1st, and will go on sale on January 5th 2018. The release comes in three editions, with different vinyl colors: 300 copies on “Risaki Black”, 200 copies on “Sari Green”, and 30 copies on black or green including a limited printed ouija board.

 

I’m sure that every Necronomidol fan will love this, so if you’re interested, be sure to check out Specific Recordings website to get your copy of the DEATHLESS vinyl.

As usual, I’d like to point out that I don’t get paid for promoting this product. I do it because I’m always up to help fellow fans to spread Japanese music to the world, and the guys at Specific Recordings have always been great friends to collaborate with in this task. Therefore, thank you once again for sending me this beautiful vinyl.

I’ll see you guys soon!

– Alex

NECRONOMIDOL – DAWNSLAYER | SINGLE REVIEW

Release Date: August 30
Formats: CD, Digital
Label: Velocitron


NECRONOMIDOL adds atmospheric touches to their solid formula, and it works wonders.

Fresh off their first European tour, the ultra-dark Idol unit NECRONOMIDOL is back with a new release that takes the form of a four-tracks single titled DAWNSLAYER, exploring new fields and adding new touches to a sound that has constantly evolved and improved over the years. After the release of the excellent DEATHLESS – that gave ultimate consistency to Necroma’s solid formula made of extreme Metal influences merged with Idol Pop bits – DAWNSLAYER is a release that could have easily played it safe without taking any risk.

Still, perfectionism and experimentation are constant elements in the NECRONOMIDOL project, so it comes at no surprise that DAWNSLAYER adds even more elements to the unit’s sound, highlighting a more atmospheric approach and enriching an already solid formula without overhauling its core. While the opening title track and STARRY WISDOM adopt the rock-solid sound of the unit, they also delicately hints at atmospheric soundscapes, that well intersecate with the melodies and the violent rhythms typical of Power/Black Metal classics. These atmospheric touches fully take form in the following R’LYEH, a masterful and surprising number that creates a cold – almost dystopian – soundscape thanks to layers of synths who originate from Idol Pop, but that dramatically help in building an atmosphere that’s way far from anything related to it, punching the listener right at the beginning to then hide and come back to keep up the atmosphere between frantic drum patterns; the girls do an extremely good job throughout the whole record, but it’s fair to say that their vocal skills particularly shine in this impressively crafted piece. This atmospheric turn plays a primary role in celephaïs too, a ballad mainly revolving around classical instruments that perfectly fit the ethereal voices of the girls, as well as giving a consistent contribute to the esoteric mood of the record. Adopting a whole different approach, the NWOBHM-indebted ABHOTH brings the unit back on a more straight-to-the-point Metal formula, showcasing their versatility in rocking both darker and more uplifting numbers with a classic but solid pattern.

Despite being “only” a single release, DAWNSLAYER adds new and exciting elements to NECRONOMIDOL’s sound: it delivers the vibes the unit firmly consolidated in the last record, but also takes risks in experimenting with particularly atmospheric elements, creating darker-than-ever soundscapes that well-fit the unit’s identity and charisma. The result is genuinely impressived, and DAWNSLAYER is yet another proof of NECRONOMIDOL‘s impressive dedication and focus, that now more than ever makes the five girls the most mature Alternative Idol unit project out there.

– Alex

As usual, special thanks to Richard for providing me with an early copy of this single. Credits for the beautiful pics go to Leo Berne.

NECRONOMIDOL – DEATHLESS | ALBUM REVIEW

deathlessdigitalcover

Release Date: February 21st, 2017
Label: VELOCITRON
Format: CD, Digital


NECRONOMIDOL’s new album is a journey through darkness not to miss

One of the best things to witness in music, is without a doubt the progression of an artist as it makes its way through different stages of its career. It begins with a concept in mind, followed by experimentation to find the right balance and sound, and then to its conquest.

The “ultra-dark” Idol Unit NECRONOMIDOL is a clear example of this progression. Kicked off in 2014, the project led by producer Richard Wilson made waves in the Alternative Idol niche for its dark and fascinating concept, reflected in a formula that mixed up extreme metal influences with Idol pop bits, in a way that felt natural for the first time ever. From the beginning, the five girls and their team never stopped to improve their formula and build a strong identity: if the unit’s debut album NEMESIS was mostly a compilation of tracks showcasing the initial experimentations of the project, and last year’s EP from chaos born a strong proof of its ability in mixing up different genres, DEATHLESS is the consolidation of the unit’s sound we’ve been waiting for… and not only.

NECRONOMIDOL’s new record is indeed a noticeable improvement in every aspect: the opener END OF DAYS immediately highlights a production that’s much more cleaner and crystalline than before, highlighting dark vibes brought by blast beats and power chords, that coupled with the girls’ delicate and sinister vocals, make this track a perfect opener that showcases the unit’s personality with success. The album’s main achievement, though, lies in the improved fusion between Metal and Electronic influences, that reach an almost perfect balance here: tracks like 4.7L, SKULLS IN THE STARS, and CHUNGKING REDLINE make the mood of the record lighter thanks to Electronic beats and synths, but never go too far on the cheesy side, successfully keeping the dark vibe floating around, and creating a connection between the eight tracks composing the album. The general flow obviously benefits from such a detailed and well structured production, and now more than ever it feels cohesive and solid. Even tracks that follow a precise pattern, like the ballad HEXENNACHT (featuring a nice contrast between Electronic percussions and classic piano strings, first time I didn’t fall asleep on a ballad in a while) and the album closer ITHAQA, loosen the grip on the technical side while elevating the atmospheric factor, with the latter track in particular shining for its catchiness.

With DEATHLESS, NECRONOMIDOL ultimately consolidate their sound, making it more enjoyable than ever. This record is their strongest and most cohesive to date, and it manages to be various while keeping its core personality intact, flowing greatly throughout its eight tracks. The improved production quality and mixing is a big plus too, and makes both the girls’ vocals and instrumentals sound better than ever. All this, and the clear effort that the unit and its team put into this record, makes DEATHLESS Necroma’s best album to date.

Vote: 8.5 / 10

– Alex


NECRONOMIDOL’s new album DEATHLESS will be available in Japanese stores on February 21st, and also worldwide (digitally) on Bandcamp.

Hands on Necronomidol’s “NEMESIS” Vinyl (And a few considerations on the state of Alternative Idol)

img_2067-copia

It’s no secret that the Alternative Idol scene, started in 2010 by BiS and BABYMETAL, brought a fresh breeze of air to a genre that was unavoidably getting old. This rebellious concept had such a huge impact in the Idol world, that the overly cheesy up-beat pop that contaminated the entire 2000s became outdated: Throwing a few formulaic melodies here and there, and setting the DAW to 120bpm, just isn’t enough anymore. But most importantly, it doesn’t sell as it used to, which is why groups refusing to adapt to the times (like AKB48) are seeing a huge decrease in popularity.

But as all trends and currents in music, after six years, we came to a point where there are so many “Alternative” Idol groups, that in a few years we won’t probably call them like this anymore: They will just be recognized as regular Idols. And when a niche gets so crowded, it also gets a little bit… same-y. Meaning that groups with plastic Metal riffs, high-pitched synths played at the speed of light, and teenager girls screaming even when they shouldn’t, are slowly becoming a shallow standard lacking personality. It happens all the time in music, and it’s just part of the process.

Luckily, though, this niche can claim an impressive number of talented artists and units, who shine not only for their quality compositions, but also for their strong personality: NECRONOMIDOL is one of them.

img_2047-copia

Formed in 2014, the “Ultradark Idol Unit” merges both extreme and classic Metal influences with Idol vocals, in a successful combination with a great balance of sounds as highlight. The unit’s first album, NEMESIS, brings both a collection of previously released songs and new tunes, spacing from classic Heavy Metal all the way to the cruelest 90’s Black Metal. Showcasing all the process that formed the sound of the unit (that later brought them to release the amazing from chaos born EP), NEMESIS is a valid introduction to the sound of NECRONOMIDOL.

I recently got the chance to get my hands on the vinyl version of NEMESIS, thanks to the guys at Specific Recordings: Not only it looks stunning, but listening to LAMINA MALEDICTUM on vinyl made me feel so trve kvlt, that I had to cut off Bibi’s head off and put it on my bed like every good Italian would do.

Just kidding of course. Bibi was my first teddy bear when I was a child. I’d never destroy my childhood like that.

img_2042-copia

Jokes aside, if you’re a Necroma fan living outside Japan, then this is the right chance to get a physical copy of their debut album on vinyl without the painfully expensive shipping from Japan (and consequent custom taxes). You can get it on the Specific recordings shop here.

That’s it folks. As you know, I’m always up to support overseas labels trying to spread Japanese Music in the world, and I think it’s important to help them for their great work. So if you love Japanese music… support the artists and the labels bringing these records to us!

– Alex

NECRONOMIDOL – from chaos born | EP Review

fromchaosbornJACKET

Release Date: June 15
Formats: CD (Japan only); Digital (International)
Number of Editions (1): Regular Edition


NECRONOMIDOL delivers a solid and various record that shows the unit’s potential. 

Since the beginning of the Alternative Idol revolution, started with BABYMETAL’s fusion of Metal with Idol pop, and BiS’ provocative concepts, the Japanese scene has been literally invaded by groups bringing formulas influenced by these two acts. It’s a natural flow, and something needed in a scene where the pure image of Idols is unavoidably becoming old, and, in practical terms, isn’t selling as it used to.

Still, only few acts took these influences to create something really unique and striking, both sonically and visually: NECRONOMIDOL is one of them.

The “Ultradark Japanese Idol Unit” is well known in the scene for its impressive art direction and on-stage presence. Still, the winning element of the project lies in the adoption of extreme Metal sonorities to create haunting atmospheres instead of a forced contrast with Idol pop, a trend that became unavoidably abused in the last few years.

After the release of their first album at the beginning of the year, the girls from NECRONOMIDOL are coming back on the scene with a new EP titled from chaos born, that brings six new tracks and a beautiful cover from artist Toshio Maeda; not surprisingly, the quality of these compositions is up to the always impressive artistic direction. From chaos born is indeed a record that doesn’t directly aim at cohesiveness, but instead focuses in showcasing the potential of the unit’s sound and of its variations, with a result that proves a remarkable improvement and fixes the few issues that didn’t work in the past.

NECRONOMIDOLJune2016

The EP kicks off with psychopomp, a haunting, five-minutes-long Death/Black Metal piece featuring an intriguing contrast between distorted guitars and sinister vocals, serving as a strong opener that will sound particularly familiar to the fans. Similarly, but with a different approach, the shortest (and possibly best) track on the EP, Nyx, adopts Alternative Rock sonorities coupled by layers of profane-sounding synths, delivering dark vibes in a very effective way, and representing the identity of the group the best in this record. Shimin Kaihougun opts for 80’s European Power Metal influences, featuring a remarkable work in arrangement and an intriguing chord progression, while the structure takes the time to properly focus on vocals; It’s a genuinely well done Power Metal track, and the girls sound confident on its myriad solos and shiny melodies.

The second half of the EP slightly leans on the Pop side, and while the synth fest of Tamam Shud does the job right with its catchy singing, Midnight Dominator does it better by taking classic Heavy Metal influences merged with pop-ish vocals, with an output that sounds natural and never forced. Heading towards the end, the group surprisingly brings acoustic layers and electronic bits in Idols Elegy: showing a different (and welcome) side of the group’s sound, the track borrows a lot from Idol Pop in the vocals, which makes for a catchy (and sometimes bizarre) number that shows once again how these girls can adapt to different styles, and still sound genuinely good.

From chaos born is a strong showcase of NECRONOMIDOL’s potential, that exposes the best elements of the group in an effective way: The right balance between Metal and Idol Pop follows the personality of the group, the vocals give relevant contribute to each track, and the attention for each section shows a clear knowledge of the influences adopted. All of this makes for a very enjoyable and various record that will be loved by all Necroma’s fans, and that will undoubtedly conquer newcomers from any part of the world.

Vote: / 10

Shout out to Necroma’s team for providing me with a copy of this EP!


Tracklist:

01. psychopomp
02. Shimin Kaihougun
03. Nyx
04. Tamam Shud
05. Midnight Dominator
06. Idols Elegy

– Alex

NECRONOMIDOL to release new EP “from chaos born”. Darkness awaits.

NECRONOMIDOLJune2016

Photo credit: Kenta Sotobayashi (also photographer for BiSH and Oyasumi Hologram)

NECRONOMIDOL is one of the groups that grabbed most attention in the new wave of Alternative Idol units that hit the Japanese industry. More than any other unit, the five girls heavily implemented influences from Black, Death and Power Metal in their sound, all merged together with Idol pop sonorities. Their art direction follows this style as well… KHOLAT SYAKHL is probably one of the MVs I loved the most last year, and a clear showcase of the wonderful style of these girls.

That said, I was glad to know that NECRONOMIDOL will be back with a new EP titled from chaos born, featuring six new tracks and set to be released on June 15 physically in Japan, and internationally through iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and pretty much every other digital delivery platform. You can check out some samples of the new tracks on the group’s official website. I like what I’m hearing so far, so I have good expectations for this.

Plus… well…

fromchaosbornJACKET

This cover kicks ass. Not casually, since it was made by legendary manga artist Toshio Maeda (best known as the creator of Urotsukidoji and La Blue Girl). The girls from NECRONOMIDOL surely know how to promote themselves properly.

You will find a review of the from chaos born EP in the next days here on the blog. In the meanwhile, the girls are getting ready for their biggest show to date at Ebisu Liquidroom, where they will perform the new songs for the first time. Tickets are already available, in case you’re one of the lucky fans that lives in Japan and can attend the concert.

Stay tuned for more!

– Alex