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

CHARAN PO RANTAN – Rose Balkan | Vinyl Overview and Artist profile

If you follow the Japanese music scene, you know there’s a pretty impressive amount of artists who mix up different (and, sometimes, apparently unrelated) genres together. It’s a refreshing approach that can lead to interesting results, and while it doesn’t necessarily always work, when it does, it’s a sign of great talent. It’s the case of CHARAN PO RANTAN, a duo composed by sisters Momo and Koharu, but this time it’s something you can’t find anywhere else in the Japanese scenes… it’s actually something pretty unique. And it’s clear since the beginning, when you press the Play button and their compilation album Rose Balkan: these girls are pretty unique.

CHARAN PO RANTAN is indeed a duo that takes typical east-European folk music, mostly Klezmer and gipsy tunes, and perfectly mixes them up with Japanese vocals that would sound totally at home in J-pop’s mainstream scene. The result, in all honesty, is totally amazing, a perfectly working engine fueled by the chemistry between Koharu’s accordion and Momo’s voice. While on paper the sound is certainly aimed to an audience with precise tastes, the reality is that the duo’s music can be easily enjoyed by pretty much anyone, thanks to catchy and well-built melodies framed in a friendly structure, that highlights each section with great emphasis.

After all, the talent of the two sisters is no news: Koharu’s skills with the accordion have even been noticed by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, and Momo’s remarkable versatility in singing is a fundamental element of the group’s sound. This sonic (and cultural) balance has granted the duo an overseas fanbase as well, with performances in England, Canada, U.S. and a few gigs at Austin’s SXSW festival, that exposed Koharu and Momo’s talent to a global scale.

CHARAN PO RANTAN is surely one of the most unique Japanese outfits out there, and their talent in merging such different cultures together is something truly remarkable, showcasing not only the talent, but also the respect the two sisters have towards the culture imprinted in their music.

I recently got my hands on CHARAN PO RANTAN’s vinyl Rose Balkan, a compilation album with some of the best and most acclaimed tunes from the duo, thanks to the guys at Specific recordings, who kindly sent me a press copy of the record. Gotta be honest: this thing looks beautiful, from the cover, to the color of the vinyl that genuinely made me happy, because I didn’t know I needed a pink vinyl in my life until now. This new vinyl will be available on the Specific Recordings shop starting April 22nd, and as you can see from the pics, it also features a CD and a Digital download code.

That’s it guys. 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 recognize their great work. So if you love Japanese music… support the artists and the labels bringing these records to us!

– Alex

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

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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.

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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.

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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