A “goblin metal” record released via the bands own label, run by “Elliot Box, an immortal wizard lizard who uses magic to make money off of music bands.” As you might have noticed, Nekrogoblikon do not take themselves very seriously. But be not mistaken, they are bloody professionals. I first came across Nekrogoblikon through their already cult-like music video to “No one survies” of the 2011 album Stench. 4.6 million views on youtube speak for themselves. Just for the sake of comparison: Amon Amarth gets way less views on their music videos. To be honest, I lost track of Nekrogoblikon till last month, when they played in the smallest venue in my hometown in front of 50-70 people. And to make it clear, this gig is in the top 10 of all the concerts I visited (including Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Metallica…). Unfortunately the gig was near the end of their european tour and all the vinyl copies of Heavy Meta were already sold out. So much for my plan to get the sleeve signed… Nevertheless, I managed to snag a copy of this album via Discogs as the LP was not available at their european store that time.
Reviewing this album took me some time as there was way more to research. First of all, Mystery Box LLC is the bands own label, so it is not possible to gather information about the usual quality as there are no releases on this label. Furthermore, I have not found the album in any of the databases I usually use. So I used a different approach this time. I compared the sound quality of the vinyl record, the digital download (comes with the album), high quality streaming on spotify and normal streaming. I did not use any technical equipment to measure anything, so the sound quality is really subjective this time.
Quality and artwork:
The album comes in a single cardboard sleeve. The cardboard is rather thin compared to other albums. Additionally, my copy has been glued together badly at the top (a bit skewed). The record itself is as perfect as a picture disc can get. Compared to other picture discs I own, the grooves are clearly visible and the record is not that heavy. The feel is definitely right. The record sits in a printed inner sleeve which has about the quality of a better poster. The record was apparently pressed by Pirate Press Czech Republic which is known for their high quality pressings.
The cover artwork is pretty awesome – especially how the band depicted themselves (see the image on the left). The back is just the landscape of the cover continued with track list and some additional information The inner sleeve is the band playing in a lake at sunset, again with a larger goblin prominently featured on the upper half. The large goblin is a recurring image as it is placed on the album cover, the inner sleeve and side A and B of the record. The record is beautiful as you can see in the pictures below.
Taylor Larson (Mastering) and Matt Hyde (Mixing) are not names I have heard of in the past. Larson apparently worked with Toothgrinder and Veil of Maya in the past, while Matt Hyde is a member of the band From First to Last. So once again it was not possible for me to deduct anything regarding the sound quality from the names. So it was about time to conduct my own experiment. The setup I used consists of Nubert nujubilee 40 stereo speakers and a Denon PMA-925-R amp for all sources. The vinyl was played on a Dual 1219 turntable, the lossless via my pc connected to the amp, and streaming both via pc and my smart phone (Oneplus One).
I won’t bother you with a report of every single source and just jump to the conclusion. The sound quality on vinyl is great and on par with the lossless downloaded files. I honestly can’t hear any difference here. Spotify high quality streaming was a bit tricky. Using my smart phone as a source the sound was a bit washed up and some instruments hard to identify. When I used my computer as the source the quality improved but did not reach the quality of the vinyl. Standard streaming on Spotify was noticeably worse than any other sources used.
Nekrogoblikon classifies their music as goblin metal (duh). It’s a very keyboard heavy mix of melodic death metal with folk elements. Their music has recognition value – if you hear Nekrogoblikon, you know its them! This is a concept album about the band (We need a gimmick!) and thus the name “Heavy Meta” – you should definitely check out the lyrics. Compared to their past releases the album is definitely more accessible in terms of music and although rather short, one of my top 10 releases of 2015. I won’t go into more details as there are plenty of reviews out there, but I’d suggest to just listen to a few tracks on YouTube or any other legal source.
For a self-released vinyl picture disc the quality is great and among the better picture disc releases in my collection. The sound quality is good and on par with the high quality download files. If you’re into Nekrogoblikon’s music I’ll definitely recommend a purchase.
If you manage to see them live, go for it. Their show is amazing, the atmosphere is great and seem to care a lot about their fans.
Thanks for a great show in Graz!
Truly yours, your biggest fan this is.. ah suck it.
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