If you’re going to make an album, you might as well throw everything at it like Homerik have. A New York three-piece, seemingly supplemented by, a cast of thousands, from female sopranos to players of ethnic instruments (in fairness, it’s not actually clear who the guitarist in the band is), they have the friendly, symphonic gushing of Nightwish; the quasi-Egyptian doomsaying of Nile and the tongue-in-cheek portentousness of Ghost or Mercyful Fate. It’s somewhat startling on first listen, and not entirely successful but repeated listens reveal a band with a lot of ideas, who perhaps need to cut back on the quantity and concentrate more on the quality.
The lead track, which we are promised a video for at Halloween, A Song of the Night Part 1, is a case in point. At over seven minutes long, it lacks nothing in ambition but spreads every elements of their arsenal to the limits…sadly to the point of snapping point. The orchestral backing is impressive in concept but is somehow more Casio keyboard than lush strings, while the heavy sections are somewhat clunky. Worse, the threat of a second part and beyond, just fills you with the dread of a band taking themselves far too seriously and no-one having the guts to say ‘stop’.
It’s well worth sticking with Homerik though – Curse of the Black Nile, which far from an original idea (an ancient cannibalistic curse features within the lyrics), does at least pack in oodles of atmosphere and shows a band with real power in their ranks, something which they release too infrequently. Best of all is Wendigo, the opening screams and slow build of chest-bursting percussion giving way to some top-notch atmospherics. A real blood-chiller and a great indication of what Homerik have to offer in the future, hopefully.