necronomidol or: how I learned to stop worrying and eat melon bread

Necronomidol have been in my sights for good amount of time now, sparked first by The Japan Times article on the group, then set ablaze by their music that one can describe as scary – in at least a couple different ways.

Have a listen for yourself:

How about that? As mentioned earlier, the “ultradark” idol group have been blipping in my radar here and there for a while, but I wanted to wait to see where they were exactly headed. and how their sound would solidify. That would be missing the point, though. Atati no Tsumeato is what it would sound like if ancient yurei possessed one of those old washing machines that would shake violently, and the only way to exorcise its reckless spirit is play a mix-tape of 1980s underground club music. That is to say, it’s creative but is it good for the ears?

Necronomidol is a whirlpool of sounds. Sometimes there are power chords and booming drums for the heavy metal effect, other times there are electric drums, synths are brought to the forefront, and I swear there was a tune with hip-hop beats that turned into a metal song for the chorus. Have an idol unit perform these songs and you have something eclectic.

It’s a lot easier to just listen for yourself, so here’s their Spotify page you can listen to (and support the group! …Kinda!). I’ll comment on some highlight tracks:

Sarnath – This is the track with the hip hop beats during the verse, a metal driven chorus, and a spoken monologue by the members to bridge them. It flows together better than you would expect, as in it actually sounds natural. That may be because the emphasis isn’t on hooks or staples, but to be observed from far and wide. There’s also a wolf howl sampled. Interesting, considering the name Sarnath is taken from Saranganath; “Lord of the deer.”

Kholat Syakhl – Acoustic guitar and piano are a nice touch, with a ringing of sorts of different instruments throughout the song. In a word; haunting.

Azathoth – A song has to be pretty badass if it’s named after the all-powerful cosmic deity of colossal proportions. It is, and it’s also my favorite track in the group’s current catalog. Even the upbeat synths have a foreboding feeling to them that’s unique. Back when it was more common for anime series to end with the world exploding or some somber finale, I can see this tune being used as a theme for one of them. Something to give The Blind Idiot God to wotagei about – and to continue its never-ending destruction!

Skulls in the Stars – This is the song that gets a fan’s adrenaline pumping at concerts. It’s a catchy tune to attract listeners, but offbeat enough to raise their curiosity of the group.

Nayenezgani – Straight-up punk ruckus. I would love it if the members were the ones playing the instruments, but I have a feeling that’s not the case. I was also curious by the title. Apparently, Nayenezgani is one of two brothers in Navajo mythology. His name means “Slayer of Alien Gods” (another source uses “Foreign God Slayer“). I’m not sure if that is actually what the song is about, but hey, there’s our mythology lesson for today!

Ankoku Shojou Sentai – If Azathoth is an apocalypse anime theme, this tune would be fit for a “Dark Girl Squadron” theme. It does sound like a throwback to hero themes of years past with its crunchy guitar effects and rock ballad structure – only with a feeling of melancholy.

There are a few other tracks, but you should have an idea of the big picture. Necronomidol is devoted, not so much to any particular style of music, but to the spirit of being an independent idol group. With so many idol groups trying to grab your attention with charm, photobooks, production, and everything else that comes with the territory, I wonder how many try to stand out with music that is complex to define or even describe with even one or two genres?

It’s not as though they’re trying to sacrifice success to make a statement. Even The Velvet Underground sought commercial success during their proto-punk era. The most creative and unique music just isn’t easy to market, especially through indie labels. They can turn heads, but if they can’t convince people to hand over their cash, then that’s all she wrote.

If you’re part of the indie idol faithfuls, you can hand over your cash for Necronomidol’s first album, “NEMESIS,” releasing next month on February 17. You can pre-order now on Amazon Japan, or wait for the iTunes release shortly after. Also, the music will be remixed and the group will record new vocals. As much as I like the music, the audio balance sounds uneven and, let’s be honest, some of the gals’ vocal pitching came close to shrieking – and not in the way that fits the goth theme. Another cool tidbit is having Shintaro Kago on-board to do the album artwork. His gnarly -and guro- illustration designs and Necronomidol’s music is a match made in heaven. He’s also done illustration designs of the members for stickers on Line that are adorable. I never would have imagined of using ‘adorable’ to describe contorted heads, but that’s art for ya.

And lastly, here’s a video of one of their performances where the group has a Spinal Tap moment. They started off fine in their day appearance at Tower Records, but it’s when they perform later for their “slumber party” concert (8:44 mark) is when things go a little south. At first, I thought it was Yotsuya (twin-tailed gal) who had a brain-fart moment during the first chorus and got discouraged. If only that was it. It’s hard to tell when it started and who were affected, but it’s clear that at least three of the members had mic problems; Hotaru pulls away her mic when it’s too loud so who knows who can hear her at all after that, Risaki tries to sing louder when her mic fades out then has to borrow Yotsuyu’s mic, and her mic wasn’t even working properly in the first place so she kind of tunes out by the end of the song, melon bread on hand. It sucks to see them frustrated, but their perseverance is inspiring – and a bit amusing in a fun and cute way. がんばって!

Watch Necronomidol’s concerts on their official YouTube channel. You can see them dance to BiS’s nerve and cover IOSYS’s Marisa Stole the Precious Thing! They also make weird promo videos that I like. I can say that after reviewing their music for this post that I’ve grown to really like what they’re doing – and their music, naturally. Keep tabs on the group on:

Official Website

Twitter

Facebook (English friendly!)

Spotify