Listening to Necronomidol’s Void Hymn was an absolute rollercoaster.

My brain at first recoiled in horror at what the capitalist machine had spat out. Some ungodly fever-dream creature half formed of JPop and power metal. Dear god, I thought, could it be that Baby Metal was just the start of these abominations?

Gonzo-ian rants aside, it was absolutely mind blowing to me to do a deep dive into Japanese Idol culture and music. I spent several hours following some school-girl-skirted rabbit down a deeply off-putting rabbit hole where Baby Metal truly was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg with groups like this. As fun and entertaining as that band is, and as deserving of accolades for their hard work and savvy gameplaying, every scumbag tr00 metalhead, I discovered, was just as deserving of their cynical outlooks. Idol Music is essentially music as made in capitalist dystopia–music engineered by committee for the maximum market impact. And not as necessarily as a group individually, but as a network of such, each individual unit catering to one certain demographic and frequently members are traded like sports players.

This is not to mention the seeming dogmatic control these PR companies exert over the young women who make up these groups. Groomed from a young age to inhabit a different role, in a band that in itself inhabits a role, and seemingly incapable of exerting creative or artistic control whatever, which is instead ceded to executives and hired musicians and composers.

This is truly the capitalist music nightmare, I thought. Horatio Alger would be proud.

Then I took a step back and tried to relax and just hear the music for what it was and…was with track one of Void Hymn, “Dawnslayer,” blown away by how goddamn fun it is. With backing musicians like the ones they have in Necronomidol, these are clearly technicians who’s mastery of their instruments rivals the talents of even powermetal lords like Dragonforce, similarly maintaining utter commitment with an irreverent and self-aware sense of the ridiculous.

Things went downhill after track one, though, and devolved into anonymous electronic-influenced JPop with the occaisional nod towards metal.

Despite the band’s reputation as the “darkest idol group around,” this still, at worst, sounds like bad bubblegum pop or, at best, the guitar-solo busting soundtrack to an anime fight scene–and too often its the former.

Scions of the Blasted Heath keeps this conflict up. The trappings of “darkness” and metal are there, but these seem only in a cynical “this is what the market responds to” way. What isn’t self awareness may just be utter slavish commitment to capital–from the short-skirted anime girl on the cover to the band’s bdsm-alluding promophoto (see below)…its a kind of bald-faced telegraphing of intentions that is almost admirable in its brazenness, until one begins to question how much of a stake, a role, or an investment the performers themselves have in these decisions.

The EP itself is more of the same of the back portion of Void Hymn, however. More songs-by-committee that don’t quite seem to jive until “Children of the Night.” This is ironic as it is unquestionably also the most “metal” song on the EP, as “Dawnslayer” was before it. The group clearly has a talent for this type of music if they would just shake the “Idol” aspects of their image altogether.

Give me a gut-busting powermetal record led by a couple of these women fully embodying their powerful roles as frontwomen and I would be first in line for the Necronomidol army.