Meet John Goblikon. He’s lonely. He’s ages-old. He likes bitches. But, he ain’t—and by definition can’t be—pretty: He’s a goblin, a self-professed Deflowerer of Wenches. And pretty girls, though they sometimes mate with or marry guys with severe appearance deficits, may be a little hesitant to go Goblin.
After timeless banishment, Goblikon decided one fateful day that the answer to his solitary, lady-less life was simple: Goblins like Girls. Girls like Rock-stars. Goblin forms Band. Goblin becomes Rock-star. Goblin gets Girls. So now, millennia in the making, L.A.-based sextet Nekrogoblikon cometh….
Be it kitschy or crazy, performance art in a musical context is intriguing. Whether there to serve the concept album—see David Bowie’s alter-ego Ziggy Stardust—or operate purely as staged-display extension of who one is or how they’re feeling—the characters of Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland come immediately to mind—that Show Within a Show is paradoxical: Music before Image? Or is it the other way around? Regardless, the two influence one another. In the peculiar-but-amusing case of John Goblikon and crew, the art was basis for the band.
“Power”, Nekrogoblikon’s latest EP, is an eccentric stew of Speed, Thrash, and Death peppered with enough progressive orchestration (and the requisite guy in authentic-looking, green-faced getup, a modern refugee from the classic Ridley Scott film Legend) that it bears its own rather obvious moniker: Goblin Metal. Fueled predominately by the nasal, raspy leads of vocalist Nicholas Von Doom, joint Nintendoesque keyboard textures from Von Doom and bandmate Aaron Minich, and the precise, seemingly unceasing thunder emanating from Eddie Trager’s drums, this five-song offering is just hard and hokey enough that it manages to work on several levels.
Short in length though grand in scope, “Power” covers a vast territory musically and lyrically.
With “Friends (In Space)”, a trip to the stars in search of trust and the truth is transformed into a melodic chugger fortified by the harmonized busyness of founding guitarist Tim Lyakhovetskiy and fret-brother Alex Alereza. “Nothing But Crickets”—by far the most adventurous and outlandish track to be heard on “Power”—depicts an insect-populated Braveheart, an unfolding uprising by underestimated garden bugs that culminates in a mass surgical strike against mankind, and it does so with a bouncy rhythm section, alternating vocal viewpoints, guitars reminiscent of Trans-Siberian Orchestra (minus the holiday cheer), and enough synthesized vibraphone and xylophone to make this reviewer think the goblins kidnapped Gotye. In-unison triplet guitar and kick drum frenzy forms the hopeful hate-letter that is “Powercore”. Here Von Doom declares “As we reach the final hour, you were never the core of my power” to the tune (pun intended) of pitch-shifting keyboards (an 8-bit orgasm part Final Fantasy, part Castlevania) and an awesome semi-slapped funk bridge from bassist Brandon “Fingers” Frenzel. “Derailed” is a ruined relationship and subsequent public display, a calliope-and-Mariachi-made, Danny Elfman-meets-System of a Down trip through the circus or a child’s dark nursery rhyme shattered by 32nd-note bass drums and layered death growls sustained for nearly twenty seconds. Album bookend “Giraffe” is actually a bit of a black sheep, an almost radio friendly Punk song punctuated by accordion, birdsongs, blastbeats, cascading harp, and off-time Ska-styled guitars that is all at once something Blink-182, something Bungle, and something disturbingly reminiscent of the Friends theme.
After taking it all in, I’m not really sure how the bitches John Goblikon saw in his future will respond to “Power” or Nekrogoblikon. He’s waited eons to make his rock-star mark and reel in the females, and to his credit, the music Nicholas Von Doom and friends touts on his behalf is anything but ugly. Still, it may take the ladies a number of active ears and imaginations to bring goblin-caliber girls out to shows that cater so eagerly to the metal-male populace. Who knows? Fun material. A fevered pace. Brooding grit. Lyrical sass. “Power” will have ‘em laughing, drinking, headbanging, dancing, moshing—maybe even kicking someone’s ass. At bare minimum, goblin or otherwise, girls go for someone that can make ‘em laugh….