As an old school metalhead raised and weaned on bands like Darkthrone and Venom it took me a while to fully comprehend NECRONOMIDOL. Four cute women singing and dancing highly choreographed moves to a pre-recorded backing track is perhaps the very antithesis of black metal. However, once I set my preconceptions aside, I found a band full of verve and vigour who delivered a highly energetic and entertaining set.
There’s no support band tonight but NECRONOMIDOL member Himari Tsukishiro appears to sing a trio of songs to warm up the audience. In opposition to the set that’s soon to follow she performs solo, dressed in white and in a rather sedate manner. There’s no hint of what’s to come, only three tracks that create an ethereal vibe as if these songs are echoes from an alternative reality. Nevertheless, it’s a spellbinding performance that acts as the calm before the coming storm.
A spooky introduction tape creates a suitably dark atmosphere and it’s suddenly broken by a ferocious blast beat that heralds the arrival of END OF DAYS. Attired all in black and arriving like a host of Valkyries, NECRONOMIDOL are a bundle of energy with each member vying for the crowd’s attention. Since the band last toured Europe, there’s been a host of changes with Tsukishiro being the only member remaining from that era. Now operating as a four-piece suits this dark unit; the stage seems less crowded, and the dance routines seem crisper. It also allows each member to bring their personality to the fore with Nana Kamino, Meica Mochinaga and Malin Kozakura creating a wall of sound with their vocals.
There’s an intriguing tension of opposites surrounding NECRONOMIDOL that makes them infinitely interesting; a sound that melds black metal and darkwave, a manufactured band performing against a backdrop of authentic, brittle black metal, and Japanese women singing lyrics that were once the preserve of narcissistic Norwegians and it’s to their credit that they bring these diametrically opposing forces together and present them as a cohesive whole. As you’d expect the arrival of ITHAQUA sends the assembled throng a little crazy; the neat mid-section, with its unearthly chanted vocals, seems tailor-made to summon evil spirits and it is a chant the crowd are happy to mirror as the electronic beat imitates the sound of the koto to create an eerie atmosphere.
After departing the stage NECRONOMIDOL return for a well-deserved encore and, perhaps the perfect set-closer, SKULLS IN THE STARS is a high-octane number that features a host of cutesy dance moves that the audience slavishly ape. Like much of tonight’s show there’s an element of the theatrical here, a touch of kabuki, that makes this set more than just a concert; it’s almost a ritual and SKULLS IN THE STARS ensures that no one leaves disappointed.