Goblin Metal can be defined as “a type of metal music forged in hell and brought to earth in order to destroy mankind. The style is a blend of metal and punk.” The style was originated by Pittsburgh metal band Trollkicker.
It was a long day filled with anxiety as I was stoked to get to see and meet L.A.’s Goblin Metal band Nekrogoblikon. It was their first time in Montreal, and their first time touring Canada, so of course there would be lots to talk about.
I spotted manager Brett Powell by the merch table early on in the night and he escorted us backstage to meet the boys. As we were politely introduced to everyone, we noticed the band drinking Nekrogoblikon Beer – HopGoblin, which is a 9.5% double IPA goblin beer that will “give you a thirst for goblin metal.” Vocalist Nicholas Von Doom poured us a couple of glasses as a sample. It sort of had a pineapple after-taste. Despite the band’s excitement to tour North America, they found it hard to enjoy every city they visited, sleeping away most of the day to be able to perform in full at night.
The show was running later than expected, so after a chat about how Rammstein’s awesome live show and taking some hilarious promo shots, the band gathered together, relayed their secret chant, and ran onto the stage to a cheering crowd. John the Goblin, the drunken, drug-induced alter ego of David Rispoli, pumped the crowd up even more by saying “Hello Montreal!” to the still cheering crowd, then repeated himself, “I’m pretty sure a goblin just said hello Montreal! You guys wanna see my favorite band?”
Nekrogoblikon opened with “A Feast” as Aaron’s synths kicked in and the whole crowd clapped along. John the Goblin danced all over the stage and Nicholas followed him with his hands in the air and his warped out facial expressions. The keys were what really stood out to me during this performance as they were broad, groovy and have a notch of metal. I also loved the mini guitar solos despite how they overpowered Nicholas’ vocals.
Eddy’s jedi curl was coupled with a cute grin that he wore for the majority of the performance. He comes from a classical music background in drumming, and when asked why he didn’t take that further he said, “I just love metal.” It really shows in his performance with the band; he had a perma-grin on his face but remained focused on his double kicks. He loves what he is doing and is really good at doing it. Fouf’s stage is pretty small, so it is hard for a seven-piece band to really express their crazy energy. John the Goblin continued to pump the crowd up by jumping, dancing, and hanging off the band members’ bodies.
Before “Nothing but Crickets” came on, Nicholas requested the crowd to be quiet as he studied the rest of the soaking wet set list. “Shhhh…John, can you get me a beer! Please everyone, be quiet for one sec…” and the song kicked in hard. I love this song as it has a mix of growling vocals along with harmonies. The drums change beat throughout, but sadly, its eerie, goblin-style vocals couldn’t really be heard. Although the stage is small and there isn’t a lot of room to move around, I would have liked to see more energy from bassist Brandon, aka Fingers, and Alex and Joe on guitar. They remained still in the same positions for the most part. Aaron played his keyboard leaning it forward and back as he headbanged along to his crazy synth banging. “Merci!” Nicholas screamed to the crowd, “That’s the name of our next album: Learning French.”
“Powercore,” a personal fav of mine from their new EP Power began and was easily the most metal and eerie tune of the bunch. With the chorus being the major highlight of the track, I unfortunately could not hear it well from where I was sitting. Despite sound malfunctions with the vocals, Eddy played really tight throughout the fast-paced song, with Aaron meeting his dynamic— they meshed really well together. I loved the breakdown of this track about 3.5 minutes in and it was absolutely bad ass to see this song performed live, and by the crowd’s participation, I can guess they felt the same.
“Bells & Whistles”carried on pretty tightly with the usual eerie-like goblin vocals similar to the voice of the little demons you would hear in the B-rated comedic-horror movie Ghoulies. “So it looks like we’re done!” teased Nicholas. After some protest from the crowd, the band agreed to continue with “Giraffe” – a funky, circus-sounding track that still upheld the old school metal sound to it. It got the crowd so excited, a diehard fan got on stage and nearly knocked down Aaron’s keyboard.
Between the Nekrogoblikon’s incredible energy and John the Goblin’s stage antics, I’d have to say it was a great goblin-esque experience.