Date: February 7th 2016
Venue: The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes
Support: The Bastard Sons / The Infernal Sea / The Acid Ballet
Website: None available
People like to dive so deeply into sub-genres of metal that bands almost start to have their own label to themselves, like ‘extreme black melodic metal’ or ‘nu-thrash metalcore’, but more particularly bands that are tarnished with the ‘gimmick’ brush get singled out even more so. We’ve seen viking metal, pirate Metal, K-pop metal but now goblin metal heroes Nekrogoblikon have returned to European shores in support of last year’s ‘Heavy Meta’.
Two local (and very different) bands kick off the night, with The Acid Ballet  opening up with their overdramatic take on the horror metal scene and all members donning an array of gothic make-up and ridiculous attire. Perhaps the quiet room dampens the enthusiasm of the rest of the band, but singer Lacroix is putting everything he’s got into it, although his blue sequin trousers are more inspiring than the band’s new material.
Milton Keynes favourites The Infernal Sea  are far more in sync and immediately put their stamp on the night with a heavy doom opening before rinsing into double pedal madness, much to the pleasure of the black metal enthusiasts watching on. Dean Lettice introduces each song in terrifying character, but has a brief break to plug brand new album ‘The Great Mortality’, yet all is forgotten soon enough as he switches his persona back in time for the gruellingly difficult vocals he puts in. Songs like ‘Tannis Root’ make it easy to see why this band are pulling in crowds in the local area and by the end of the set there are more double the people in the audience wearing The Infernal Sea shirts than half an hour ago.
The genre merry go round continues in full force as The Bastard Sons  bring a Southern rock ‘n’ roll twist to the metal saturated evening, and they sound as tight as it gets. Frontman JJ Jackson resembles Bam Margera on stage, but his singing and screaming interlocks with the rest of the Sons‘ backing vocals with perfection on opener ‘The Bastard’. The York band seem to be having the time of their lives on tour with their new best buds Nekrogoblikon, and it’s fully portrayed during ‘Bottom Of The Ladder’ and ‘Release The Hands’, and ‘A Lie Is A Lie’ really gets the party really started as the headline act and crowd members are dancing around the stage to what must be one of the most badass new heavy rock ‘n’ roll bands around.
If you’re unaware of what Nekrogoblikon  do, they’re a very light-hearted death metal band from LA that revolve around their mascot John Goblikon; a goblin in a suit who joins them for every show and even has a new online chat show. Nekrogoblikon clearly don’t take themselves seriously, and you shouldn’t either.
The band take to the stage during their chosen entrance music of Boney M‘s ‘Rasputin’ and are already poking fun at Milton Keynes and generally talking nonsense between tracks. ‘Bears’ hits the set early to link to singer Scorpion‘s bear face t-shirt as John Goblikon terrorises the stage by climbing on amps and getting in the faces of the front row. It takes Scorpion ’til the band have finished ‘End Of Infinity’ to even mention or acknowledge the goblin on stage and even then it’s only in passing, which only adds to the enjoyment of the gimmick.
‘Bells And Whistles’ gives John a chance to make his way around the audience, greeting and scaring fans before he retires to backstage for a few songs. The hairy band can easily handle themselves without him for ‘We’ve Had Enough’, but crowd favourite ‘Prince Of The Land Of Stench’ initiates the first goblin circle pit of the night.
As Nekrogoblikon get through more and more Swedish cider, the better their chat becomes, and their engaging fun on stage is transmitted through to the whole of The Craufurd Arms.
Written by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)