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(46:08, Roth Handle Recordings)
TRACK LIST: 1. Entering The Sublevels Of Necroplex (11:00) 2. Everybody Likes Hornets But Nobody Likes Hornet Nests (5:00) 3. The Rage Within The Clouds (10:43) 4. The Electric Rectum Electoral (7:06) 5. Lie Fun You Are (7:05) 6. The Current Beneath The Squarewave (5:54) LINEUP: Mattias Olsson - various instruments David Lundberg - various instruments with: Kristian Holmgren - vocals
Prolusion. Necromonkey is a Swedish project organised by former Anglagard drummer Mattias Olsson and Gosta Berlings Saga keyboardist David Lundberg. The group’s style is in no way close to that of any of its parent bands and is based primarily on electronic music with a lot of Mellotron and diverse sound effects supported by a wide range of acoustic and electronic instruments. Each of the first two albums was produced with the assistance of a considerable number of session musicians. Show Me Where It Hertz is Necromonkey’s third (and last to date) album, which was recorded almost entirely by the founding musicians alone. The only other member that took part in the production was vocalist Kristian Holmgren.
Analysis. The very first listen of Show Me Where It Hertz (and that was my first acquaintance with the band) left me quite puzzled. When I found out it had sprouted from such respectable acts as Anglagard and Gosta Berlings Saga and, particularly, was commended by a number of critics, while the kind of electronic pop/techno/breakbeat music I actually heard on the album did not impress me at all, to say the least, a desire rose within me to investigate into the band’s work more deeply. Things, finally, went quite right when I listened to the first two albums by the Olsson/Lundberg duet. Although the group’s Scandinavian origin is easily traced there, close analogues can hardly be found in either that part of Europe or elsewhere in the world. Mellotron and a collection of acoustic string and wind instruments create darkly beautiful, atmospheric music, while a wide range of unusual sonic effects make the atmosphere so real you sometimes literally feel it with your skin. The material does not sound equally inspired throughout, though, and there are some weaker moments, but there also are sections so incredibly wonderful they more than compensate for the less satisfactory segments. Unfortunately, it is not the first two albums that became the heroes of this review, and very little of what has been said above may serve to describe Show Me Where It Hertz. On the last album the musicians decided to refuse from the help of a dozen additional musicians present on both previous efforts, and retained only one person as a vocalist, whose vocals, however, I couldn’t identify anywhere on the album (possibly, it is his voice that can be heard heavily distorted somewhere in the middle of track 1). Nor could I – probably, as a result of the dismissal of the co-musicians – hear any live instrument. This is a realm of almost purely electronic music ruled by three tyrants – Monotony, Primitiveness and Banality. The sound effects, though used quite amply throughout, can hardly adorn the environment due to their predictability and lack of originality. Melodies and chords are at times so simple they could suit more to some techno dance band. All this runs against the background of stupefying repetitiveness of electronic beats. A glimpse of possible changes for the better and associations with the band’s better moments can be observed starting from the second part of the album, particularly, on songs 4 and 6. There we return to deep mellotron sound, which, however, is not so captivating as in previous years. Besides, the irritating electronic drums, commonplace effects and endless repetitions are still with us. It actually hertz almost everywhere… Perhaps, the musicians realised that, too, and decided to make a break, since, after three albums in a row, no other releases have followed to date.
Conclusion. Necromonkey is a wonderful band, a must-have for any open-minded listener wishing to explore new territories, particularly dark and wet ones associated with Scandinavian rock. Those eager to know what results a true mastery in operating synthesisers may yield should also direct their attention to the project. However, I would highly recommend that you should begin your acquaintance with the first two albums, Necroplex and A Glimpse Of Possible Endings. Attempting at Show Me Where It Hertz may prove a disappointment.
Shamil “Proguessor” Gareev: Septembe 27th, 2018