As an old school metalhead who places great emphasis on musicianship and authenticity it took me a while to get my head around Japanese kawaii metal band Necronomidol. I was weaned on Bathory and Venom so these five cute women, born from the manufactured idol scene, dancing choreographed moves to a backing track is what I’d consider the complete antithesis of black metal. However once I set my prejudice and preconceived ideas aside and approached Necronomidol with an open mind I found an originality and vitality that renders the band extremely likeable.
Like the very best black metal there’s something very ethereally atmospheric about Necronomidol as a spooky intro tape segues into the thunderclap blast beat that is opener ‘End of Days’. A bundle of nervous energy the group hit the stage, pirouetting like a gang of whirling dervishes, writhing and undulating in loose formation. Although I can’t quite comprehend why their aren’t physical musicians on stage to all intents and purposes this is a metal show as horns are held high, a small pit erupts and next track ‘Warabeuta’ features plenty of crowd chanting and fist pumping. Dressed in black and bathed in blue light Necronomidol bare a suspicious resemblance to the witches of Macbeth and there is a theatricality to tonight’s performance very much in the spirit of kabuki tradition as the ritualistic stage moves enhance the lyrics.
What I find most intriguing about Necronomidol are the tension of opposites that permeate their show: syrupy sweet melodies overlaying black metal, a moulded band performing against a backdrop of authentic, brittle metal and Japanese women singing lyrics once the preserve of misanthropic Norwegians. Many of these contradictions are diametrically opposed and shouldn’t really sit together and it’s to their credit that these disparate elements are brought together in a cohesive sound. Musically there’s a lot going on too from the pure black metal of ‘Sarnath’ to the pogo-inducing ‘NXY’ to the undeniably catchy ‘Skulls in the Stars’ with it’s dance routine that the hardcore fans at the front slavishly mirror. Part darkwave, part post-black metal ‘Children of the Night’ follows before Necronomidol return for two well earned encores.
On reflection I think I was unfair in my disinclination towards the choreographed nature of this show (most gigs are prearranged to some degree) and while I don’t think I’ll ever make peace with the backing track this was, nevertheless, a fun filled gig.
Reviewed by Peter Dennis.