Nekrogoblikon (Artist Spotlight)
Updated: Apr 4, 2022
Nekrogoblikon is an American melodic death metal band based in Los Angeles, California. The group was formed in 2006, by Tim Lyakhovetskiy and Nicky Calonne.
Current line up :
Nicky "Scorpion" Calonne — lead vocals, keyboards, sequencing, programming(2006–present)
Alex "Goldberg" Alereza — lead guitar, backing vocals (2007–present)
Aaron "Raptor" Minich — keyboards, backing vocals (2011–present)
Aaron "Zoot" VanZutphen — bass, backing vocals (2015–present)
Eric W. Brown — drums (2016–present)
Joe "Diamond" Nelson — rhythm guitar(2013–2015, 2018–present)
Nekrogoblikon is a band that I first heard of in 2020 when they did a cover of System of a Down’s Chop Suey. Immediately I could tell that this band with something unique not just based on their sound but also based on their gimmick. If you go to the Spotify page under the band info where you would normally see a full biography on the band there is only one sentence. We have a goblin.
I remember searching through the Internet after hearing the cover and immediately being struck in the face by a goblin by the name of John Goblikon. John serves as the bands mascot and key focus of their aesthetic. Instantly upon hearing Jon and seeing him I was enthralled by the character work that was developed. I jammed out to a few of their albums for a while but to be honest I was distracted by other music and lost focus of this band for a while. John did an interview with Onyx The Fortuitous shortly after the podcast did (2021)and it mildly sparked more interest in the band for me. They were definitely on the back burner of my brain but never quite on the top side of my Spotify playlist.
Until April 1, 2022. That night I was jamming to some metal on Spotify and all of a sudden a new track popped up from the band. I was instantly taken back by it I remember immediately getting excited when seeing it was them.
After hearing the new album I immediately started cycling back through their discography. I was excited and titillated to say the least to reignite the flame of this band for myself. I found a new appreciation for their sound and style and have to say it’s growing on me like a fungus grows on a goblin’s foot. The melodic metal is paired nicely with almost a comedic folk sensibility behind it. The band takes itself extremely seriously in terms of sound and less seriously in terms of aesthetic and substance. I think that this is an immediate clash when you listen to it yet it pairs almost perfectly.
Sometimes the band will be more of a hard-core band bringing out chugging riffs and timed out breakdowns. On other occasions they hit you with a loop and sample and some clarinet playing over melodic background guitar. This band throws you for a loop but it is not sudden an abrupt it leaves you with enough time to feel the transitions. At times the songs can feel silly and full of life and as the two sets of vocals smash together you find it to be a completely different sound and feel. It's energetic, powerful and uplifting all while balancing a heavy sound and style with an honest approach.
I found myself bouncing between albums a lot with Nekro but, i think outside of their newest release the band really hit their stride with the release of Welcome to Bonkers 2018. It remains the first album i would show anyone for this band.
The bouncy and uplifting guitar riffs that suddenly punch into a hellish landscape are an appropriate dynamic that works in tandem with the electrifying keyboards to make a symphony of almost god like proportions.I'd like to point of just one song for this album but to be honest it's really hard! SO MANY BANGERS!! This album in particular showcases the full potential this Ghoulish brigade has and leaves it all out for you to feel and experience. Just as I thought I knew everything about this band the song the magic spider comes on and I feel like Frank Zappa’s ghost possessed the band. This album is pure gold on all levels. 8/10
The band has played numerous festivals such as warped tour and is currently playing a tour with the legendary shock rock band GWAR 5/19/22-6/17/22. I feel like that completely makes sense when you look at their gimmick and their aesthetic. They match that vibe and can probably pull out a lot of numbers at the shows.
Nekro has gone through numerous member changes but seem to still be kicking up steam now especially after this last albums released. They seem to be re-imagining their sound in a different way and it shows. From their first release Goblin island in 2007 to this newest release The fundamental slimes and humors 2022 There is definitely a sense of evolution in their music and it’s refreshing to see. But we should keep in mind that they do stick to their sound chaotic as it may be. The keyboards in the background of the music lend an ear to the iconic 8-bit soundtracks that paved a generation for video game nerds. As heavy as the band can get at times the keyboards always bring back the dungeon goblin metal feel.
I was overjoyed to see that John joins the band on tour and really plays a focal part in the content. He makes an appearance in music videos as well often times directing or overshadowing the band in a humorous way. As goofy as it seems to be this goblin is a GREAT mascot for this band and really plays up on the sound well!! He claims to be an insurance agent... as well as the bands biggest fan and also enjoys a diet of skin. He has become such an Internet celebrity that he has his own talk show called “Right Now!” which you can find on the bands YouTube page. It’s well into its fourth season and has brought forth such celebrity interviews as Blake Anderson of workaholics fame and the legendary Reggie Watts just to name a few. The show is of course hosted by John but the band plays as his house band as you would see on Jimmy Fallon or Conan O’Brien. It’s really funny and hilarious and is kept to a short time limit which I think works for the content. I recommend it if you’re bored and wanna get more goblin in your life.
So what can I say about Nekrogoblikon? Well I definitely have fallen in love with this band sound the smooth melodic death metal mixed with the hard-core overtones and the almost video game like soundtrack of the keyboards in sampling is honestly heavenly. The sound is so unique that i am sure you won't find anything close to this.It’s a nice change of pace from your standard death metal or your standard comedic musician acts (as said before)The band really takes themselves seriously in terms of sound and I appreciate that as a consumer and a fan. They can bring you out of a bad mood and into a good one with literally half of a song and I really appreciate that. The vocals themselves ranging from the goblin death metal high screams and skreeches all the way more down to the almost Muse like vocal stylings really paint a picture that one finds hard to deny. The vocals are probably my favorite part about this band other than the goblin himself. They harken back to a time that was much simpler a time of Tony Hawk Pro Skater one and code red Mountain Dew. A time where music was more an escape and less a serious discussion. This band has captured lightning in a bottle and continue to prove the hard work and dedication can pay off in the end. They have been around since 2006. One of their creators isn't even the band anymore... yet somehow they keep pushing on and thriving as a unit and I'm sure they will only keep spreading the gospel of John Goblikon further and further.. LONG LIVE THE GOBLIN!!