Nikk Fail – End Of The Line

Nikk Fail – End Of The Line
Self-Released
Release Date: 08/06/24
Running Time: 24:50
Review by Dark Juan
Score: 6/10

Good afternoon, my hordes, who probably number about twenty. It is Dark Juan here and I am both exhausted and slightly hungover after a 96-hour work week where I had the grand total of one day off thanks to a combination of training, college work and generally being at work. This made sure that Dark Juan came home from work and promptly got drunk and sparked out on the sofa for several hours yesterday, thereby curtailing his written output somewhat. As, as is traditional for West Yorkshire in spring, the weather cannot decide whether to scorch out the retinas of your good correspondent, or indeed drench him mere moments later (as happened when I was on my way back from Lidl) causing Dark Juan to swear viciously, much to the surprise of the man who walked out of an alley and who thought that Dark Juan was cursing him for his mere existence. Apologies were exchanged and Dark Juan scuttled home with the sack of dog food he was carrying. Also, I am slightly hungover and fighting the urge for more sleep as I am supposed to be going to an All Killa No Filla live performance later, this being two comediennes talking about serial killers and going remarkably far off-piste and topic during their performance. Much like Dark Juan and his three-hundred-word preambles.

Joke’s on you though because that one was only two hundred and seventy-nine words. (Please stop- Ed)

As Dark Juan is feeling somewhat delicate, he has eschewed his usual diet of noise and horror, and instead outfitted the Platter of Splatter ™ with blacklight neon and shiny PVC, just for the express purpose of bringing the music of Italian electronic auteur Nikk Fail to your attention. Now, you are all aware of Dark Juan’s rabid and probably actionable enthusiasm for all things Electronic Industrial and Synthwave, being as he is a child of the 80s and John Carpenter soundtracks and heavily muscled men blasting endless waves of faceless enemies out of existence while being outnumbered to the point of ridiculousness with a machine gun that never seemed to need reloading were the staples of his viewing at that time.  Normally with some butt-clenchingly twee one-liners and wounds that would drop a normal man dead in his tracks, thereby making a much shorter and darker film.

This six-track offering opens with ‘Bugstompers’ (it really should have had the subtitle “We Endanger Species” in my humble and august opinion), which is a tune that is inspired by the Colonial Marines of the movie “Aliens”. While it nods in a knowing fashion towards the Synthwave genres, to the ear of Dark Juan, he would rather characterise the music as modern Electronic Industrial, such is its choppy, stop-start dynamic. As far as an opening gambit though, it is a bit weak. The tune doesn’t really seem to get going and instead meanders around in a welter of blooping and squelching and a martial drumbeat that is marchable rather than danceable. Dark Juan was somewhat disappointed with it, to be brutally honest.

Thankfully, Nikk Fail picks up his game and serves up a fucking peach of a Synthwave song with the second track, which is also the title track of the album – the disturbingly sexy-yet-aggressive vocals of Eleonora Ferrari complementing the sleazy, backstreet vibe of the music. In the twisted sewer that is Dark Juan’s imagination this is exactly the kind of music that would fit the experiences of a traveller to Venusville in the “Total Recall” universe. You know the one, inhabited by mutant mind readers and sex workers with three breasts. It’s a grinding, unlubricated experience, this song, with a tempo that is neither fast or slow, but has exactly the right speed to make the song both sleazy and demure at the same time. If you are a person of a certain age, you’ll get that reference. The song has added charm because of the obviously Italian-accented English in the vocals. Dark Juan likes hearing the accents of different countries in songs.

‘Living Dead Lights’ takes us into the realms of Darkwave – a slow-moving instrumental piece that bumps and grinds along at its own pace. It is hard to describe, all clear-glass melodies overlaying a grubby, oil-stained bassline which owes more than a nod to the likes of Gary Numan and Tubeway Army and Krautrock kingpins Kraftwerk.

The pace picks up with another instrumental tune, ‘Anakin Rampage (The Ballad of Vader)’ which would have been more amusing if it were a ballad about the Speed Metal legends rather than the bloke in a silly suit and helmet who really sounds like he needs his fucking asthma treated immediately. The problem is, the music doesn’t sound like a fluffy-haired twonk crying his little heart out about everything being unfair, after he has just got to raid the panties of the hottest Senator the Republic has ever seen after he formed a very unhealthy attachment to her when he was just a kid and then going a bit hatstand and going to slaughter a bunch of pre-schoolers because he’s got his fucking C3PO knickers in a knot because he trusted someone called Sheev who was a bit naughty. Imagine being that fucking naïve that you trust someone called Sheev. Even a three-year-old Yorkshire kid wouldn’t trust a Sheev. Sorry. The tune is alright, it’s another one that doesn’t match its title, being a much more fluid thing that would better suit a car chase with anti-grav cars and hoodlums leaning out of windows and peppering passers-by with rains of poorly aimed 9mm death.

‘Troma Boy’ is some pretty fucking tasty Cyberpunk crossed with Industrial Rock though – Imagine Billy Idol getting a train run on him by KMFDM (and hold that image of Lucia Cifarelli in a PVC catsuit pegging him in your head. You are most welcome, perverts of the world!), all razor-sharp guitars, punishing tempo and savage, serrated electronics and vocals that range from clean to guttural throat destruction. It is a surprisingly primal tune, this one, especially compared to ‘Bugstompers’, which was rather more in the realms of Electronic Industrial. ‘Troma Boy’, the title track and ‘Commuting Paradise’ are the highlights of this record, mainly because they have the interest of vocals and lyrics on them – ‘Commuting Paradise’ is enhanced by the soulful, Poppy vocals of Giuilia Finazzi, which adds a very Eighties Pop feel to the tune, as does the frankly batshit guitar solo in the middle eight of the song. 

Well, then. Nikk Fail’s music is a bit of a mixed bag then. Dark Juan feels that he would be benefitted by having a vocalist to go with his music as it really comes alive when there is someone singing. The instrumental tracks, although interesting, have a tendency to wander a bit aimlessly. Dark Juan also thinks that there is a bit of a lack of focus to Nikk’s music. He is trying to cover too many bases at once and Dark Juan is of the opinion that being rather more centred on a single genre would be to his benefit. This is not to say that the music is bad, just wayward, because Nikk Fail is at his best when he is writing for vocals.

Good, but not spectacular. 

Yet. There is considerable promise here.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Il sistema brevettato di classificazione degli schizzi di sangue di Dark Juan – Ciao, miei amici italiani (e forse alcuni in Svizzera e forse anche in Somalia), non vedo l’ora di visitare di nuovo presto il vostro bellissimo paese, e devo ringraziarvi personalmente per averci dato il dea assoluta che è Cristina Scabbia. Dal profondo del cuore, grazie, Italia) awards Nikk Fail 6/10 for a record that has moments of transcending wonder, yet also has some missteps. Extremely promising, though, and Dark Juan looks forward very much to a new album in time.

TRACKLISTING:

01. Bugstompers
02. End Of The Line
03. Living Dead Lights
04. The Anakin Rampage (The Ballad of Vader)
05. Troma Boy
06. Commuting Paradise

LINE-UP:

Currently just Nikk Fail but the lad is putting a band together

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.