Before the review proper, there’s a bit of housekeeping that needs to be taken care of pertaining to our past coverage of Nekrogoblikon. No, Welcome To Bonkers did not end up being ‘damaging to metal’, which was a hyperbolic statement that, admittedly, feels unfounded looking back on it. With the benefit of hindsight, Welcome To Bonkers is still a bad album, but one that feels so forgettably so. The gimmick of a permanent member whose sole purpose is to dress up as a goblin has completely overtaken any sort of music (like it hadn’t already…), and that’s really the only thing about this band you’ll remember in any significant capacity, for good or for ill. And with that clarity in mind, The Fundamental Slimes And Humours just isn’t worth getting all that worked up about, though in no uncertain terms should that be taken to mean this is good, by any stretch. In fact, it’s quite obvious how bad this is right from the jump, simply for how unbelievably cheap it sounds. That’s not in a slimy, grimy goblin sense either, but more a ‘we have no money and a bad producer’ one, as opener Right Now sets the tone with guitars universally shorn of muscle, and battling for space against far louder drums and an ear-infecting synth drizzle. Clearly the intention is to sound simultaneously grand and off-kilter, but when the organ and choral samples are about as stock as they come, and the shifts to accordion on A Lesson In Hate and circus-y farting around on Going To Die are just outright annoying, Nekrogoblikon wind up just as unappealing as ever. At least Bones can somewhat stick the landing as a fairly okay Ghost riff in one of this band’s rare unequivocally good songs, for as clear a fluke as it may be given what’s going on elsewhere. To their credit, there’s no air of laziness about this, but it’s more the work of a band reaching wildly beyond their means, and striking out long before those ideas are even close to being realised.
But that’s merely par for the course for Nekrogoblikon at this point, and it can be considered a mercy that, even among that, they seem to have eased up a bit on the mealy-mouthed goblin gimmick that ran its course roughly when they first put the idea to paper. That’s not to say the writing here is much better; it’s a lot more unremarkable on the whole, but they’ll still find ways to substitute their own insipidity, like with the burped-out vocalisations that Yin will call screams. On the whole though, The Fundamental Slimes And Humours rings more as just a typical release from another bad metal band. Hardly a stamp of quality or endorsement on its own, of course, but the fewer moments warranting optic nerve-snapping eye-rolling mean this is ultimately better by default. You must realise the curve that that’s judged on though, and how Nekrogoblikon are still nothing close to being a good, or even passable metal band. The sound and production are the heavy kickers throughout, but when they’re then paired with Nicky Calonne’s vocals—screams that have no body to speak of but might as well be top-tier fare compared to meek, underpowered singing with barely a redeeming feature to speak of—it’s almost astonishing how amateurish and slapdash this feels. This is Nekrogoblikon’s fifth full-length album, and yet they still sound like a band that have never stepped foot out of the garage they formed in, where even the most basic fundamentals of metal are just not here. But as long as John Goblikon is still running around amongst them, they’ll be fine, because who cares about the music? As the mascot of the band, he’s the draw, and it’s never felt more like Nekrogoblikon are aware of that than here. They don’t need to be good because of that, but when what they come out with isn’t even bad enough to expend energy on kicking a fuss up about it, that somehow feels even worse.
For fans of: Lordi, GWAR, Finntroll
‘The Fundamental Slimes And Humours’ by Nekrogoblikon is released on 1st April.
Words by Luke Nuttall