Old Nick

(Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Forest of Grief (2020), 6/10
T.N.O.T.A.A.T.P.B.T.Q.A.S.F.A.B.O.O.T.D.O.S.S.T.T.E.V.H.S. (2020), 6/10
A New Generation of Vampiric Conspiracies (2021), 6.5/10
Iam Vampire Castle (2021), 6/10

Old Nick, a trio from the San Francisco Bay Area, discovered humor in the most unlikely of places: black metal. Their six-song EP Witch Lymph (2020) features titles like Garlic Witch Vomit and Equestrian Beheading that make the Cramps sound like Shakespeare. They got more professional with the six-song 20-minute EP Flying Ointment (2020), that contains the propulsive riff of Shepard of the Rats, the demented epilepsy of Cacophonous Mandrake Horde and the first version of Vampyric Candle, their signature song with an anthemic synth leitmotiv, always clumsily disguised as black metal.

The album Forest of Grief (2020) crowned their goofy black metal enhanced with a dungeon synth, from the vomiting The Saint of Blood to the demonic The Hunt Of Gevaudan via the asolutely hysterical Dead In The Moat, while Tears Shed Over A Medieval Grave is infected by delirious punk-rock.

The short (30 minutes) album T.N.O.T.A.A.T.P.B.T.Q.A.S.F.A.B.O.O.T.D.O.S.S.T.T.E.V.H.S. (2020), whose title stands for "The Night of the Ambush and the Pillage by the Queen Ann Styl'd Furniture, Animated by One of the Dozen or So Spells That Thee Eastern Vampyre Has Studied", is another hilarious and exhilarating parade of childish black metal. The sound is generally more aggressive (like in the title-track and in Plat Map of the 11th Vampire Lord's Domicile) and fuller/louder that can become disorienting (like in The Abysmal Chess Masters Plate of Fruits, Figs, Cheese, & 3 Varieties Of Apple). But the tone remains quasi parodistic, from the solemn and grotesque march-like Four Properties Of The Witch Of 1962 In A Northwestern Coastal Town, Built Between The Years 1918 - 1947 to the hypnotically looping Weeping Mystery Trench Coat. The album also contains a different version of Vampyric Candle.

The year 2020 yielded several more EPs: Curse of the Lock Master (2020), with Sequestered Bat, Witch of the Northern Vill (2020), with A Haunting in York, Haunted Loom (2020), The Vanitous Specter, No Solace in Sunlight (2020); plus a split album with Hex Clock on which they packed seven more songs, notably Fuck 17th Century. They increasingly sounded like a cartoonish version of Type O Negative at their most cartoonish.

The 16-song A New Generation of Vampiric Conspiracies (2021) contains songs that are both breathless and clownish (A New Generation Of Vampiric Conspiracies and especially Labyrinthine Library Of Lycan Literature), and songs that morph illogically, like You Can't Unplug The Haunted Landline, a psychobilly that turns into synth-pop. Their music doesn't hesitate to incorporate arcade videogames (The Saint Of Blood), catchy punk-pop (Velvet Chrysalis), majestic synth-driven prog-pop (Vampyric Candle), even an opera aria (Turpitudinous Decree From The Haunted Phone). It includes old songs like Tears Shed Over A Medieval Grave.

The seven-song 30-minute Iam Vampire Castle (2021) contains one of their gloriously silly circus polkas, Iam Vampire Castle (featuring a xylophone), the voodoobilly Vampyric Witch Ghost and the micro-suite Ceaseless Spiral Staircase (with sitar and ending like a Russian folk singalong).

The EP Crisp Winter Dawn of My Night Moon (2021) is devoted to more conventional gothic-tinged synth-drenched punk-pop (notably Crisp Winter Dawn of My Night Moon) but also includes a demented polka du jour, Shepard of the Rats 2.

The avalanche of recordings finally stopped. The EP Ghost O' Clock (2022) includes A Witch's Bike in the Forest and the EP The Truest Spell (2023) includes Witch Hat and Keep of the Pumpkin Wolf.

(Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )