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NOEKK

Experimental/Post Metal • Germany


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Noekk picture
Noekk biography
Founded in Germany in 2004

Born from the ashes of dark metal band EMPYRIUM, NOEKK features multi-instrumentalists Funghus Baldachin and F.F. Yugoth who used to go by the respective names of Ulf Theodor Schwadorf (alias Markus Stock) and Thomas Helm. Unlike their old incarnation, NOEKK are not a metal band even if their style has the same dark, brooding atmosphere, starting with their own name (NOEKK was a ghastly fairy-tale creature who would lure young men, women and children into the abyss). Their style is really not easy to pin down, so I'll let Baldachin, who is more or less in charge of things, describe it to you: "NOEKK is free and boundless rock music taking inspiration from Nature's magic and putting it into sounds without constraints. Calm at first, then hurrying, then revelling in pathos - but always with an eye on the abyss".

Their only album todate, "The Water Sprite", is their contribution to prog. Full of atmospheric doom yet strangely alluring, it opens with soft piano arpeggios that herald a peaceful walk through nature, then suddenly delivers a sonic blow in an avalanche of instrumental frenzy before retreating into itself again. Extremely moody, it exudes a mysticism and gloomy melencholy not unlike ÄNGLAGÅRD or LANDBERK and, to a certain extent, KING CRIMSON for the keyboard work. The lyrics are appropriately serious and profound (one of the tracks, btw. is penned J.R.R. Tolkien). Experimental, moody, intriguing.

May be too quiet for the hard-core metalhead but will certainly inspire other prog-metal lovers as well as progheads with a particular taste for the dark side of life.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Minstrels CurseMinstrels Curse
Prophecy 2008
$4.85
$4.79 (used)
GrimalkinGrimalkin
Prophecy 2006
$4.83
$4.79 (used)
Water SpriteWater Sprite
Prophecy 2006
$9.91
$4.17 (used)
Carol Stones And Elder RockCarol Stones And Elder Rock
Prophecy 2018
$10.91
$16.06 (used)
Grimalkin by NOEKK (2006-09-04)Grimalkin by NOEKK (2006-09-04)
Prophecy (Koch)
$21.01
$16.74 (used)
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NOEKK discography


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NOEKK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.30 | 13 ratings
The Water Sprite
2005
4.00 | 11 ratings
The Grimalkin
2006
3.29 | 7 ratings
The Minstrel's Curse
2008

NOEKK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NOEKK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

NOEKK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NOEKK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Carol Stones and Elder Rock
2018

NOEKK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Water Sprite by NOEKK album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.30 | 13 ratings

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The Water Sprite
Noekk Experimental/Post Metal

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Noekk is a continuation of the doom metal band Empyrium. The two musicians responsible for the band play all of the instruments between the two of them. The name Noekk comes from folklore about a water creature that can change into a beautiful white horse who gets human riders and then carries them to their death in the water. The music veers away from metal exploring way beyond its boundaries, but remains dark.

The band's first album is "The Water Sprite". The topic of the lyrics has mostly to do with dark folklore. Most of the music is spontaneous with a fairly free structure, but cohesive enough to avoid a lot of dissonance. It is quite accessible as far as progressive music goes, while being complex enough to keep your interest.

The title track starts off the album with a harpsichord solo which is suddenly interrupted by a quick drum riff and the music takes off. When vocals start, you get your first taste of the sound of Thomas Helm's voice which can be somewhat pompous and almost operatic at times, and at others, a low breathy tone, not really a growl, but close. The music itself is heavy progressive with a complex and changing time signature and plenty of guitars and keyboards to make any prog-head happy.

"T.B.'s Notion" starts off soft with a single guitar that quickly gets joined by vocals in a deep underdeveloped, yet rich voice with lyrics written by J.R.R. Tolkien adapted to an interesting melody. This one remains mostly slow and soft with a mellotron added in later. The melody is not a standard structure and seems to be somewhat improvised.

"Strange Mountain" starts with an electric piano, sounding somewhat like Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter". Subdued vocals start shortly after. At around 2 minutes there is a slight build, then it kicks into a mid tempo rhythm with a lot of mellotron and other keyboards with a flute effect, and the vocals become more dramatic. It continues to get better as it goes and the music becomes more complex. There is a sudden switch to a Deep Purple/Uriah Heep sound midway through when an organ comes in. The drums are also quite excellent adding to the complexity of the track. A theme keeps returning through the track.

Next is "How Fortunate the Man with None", a Dead Can Dance cover. It follows the original quite faithfully, except you get to hear it with Thomas' slightly operatic vocals. It is a decent cover that expands just a little on the original as far as the instruments and a little more vocal inflection, but stays pretty faithful with its great lyrics and repeating melody.

"Fiery Flower" starts with an early King Crimson vibe with mellotron and flute. After a minute, it changes to a more dramatic, neo-progressive sound when the full band and vocals start. There is a nice "Opeth" sounding instrumental interlude.

"Moonface is Dead" starts with a soft guitar and echoing effects with mellotron and vocals. This is a slow yet short track. I do have a hard time with the vocals on slower tracks like this one, when he really shines is on the more dramatic and complex passages in other tracks. Fortunately, it's only just over 4 minutes, but even then it meanders too much.

"Riddle Seeker" surpasses the 10 minute mark and ends the album on a high note. You get the full band from the start, playing a great progressive sound. Vocals come in early. Even after the first minute, you notice a complex and changing sound as a new theme is introduced by the bass and then repeated by guitars. This is quite a dynamic track, always changing and complex with tempo and meter changes and several thematic and improvised elements.

This is quite a great album overall, but some might be turned off initially by the dramatic vocals. This is not a huge drawback, because you do become accustomed to them after a while. There are places where things don't move smoothly, but again, the musicianship is excellent and indicative of greater things to come. However, with these minor issues, this is a very dynamic and progressive album, a little on the dark side, but I wouldn't consider it depressing at all. With a lot of complexities, yet staying mostly accessible in progressive terms, this album does have a lot to offer progressive lovers. Since it is quite dynamic, you can expect a lot of both quiet and heavy moments throughout. With only one really weak track, this reaches about 3.5 stars, but I can easily bump this up to 4 stars as it gets more appealing the more you listen to it.

 The Water Sprite by NOEKK album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.30 | 13 ratings

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The Water Sprite
Noekk Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 stars. This band has a unique sound, partly because of the the vocals that are pretty hard to describe, and partly because of the tone of the guitar.The songs are mostly slow, atmospheric and dark in nature, with lots of mellotron helping to achieve this sound.

"The Water Sprite" is an excellent track with the aggressive vocals and floods of mellotron that are contrated with the mellower passages. Well done ! "T.B.'S Notion" is a slow paced track with gentle guitar and reserved vocals.This one just doesn't work for me, mainly because the vocals just don't fit for some reason. "Strange Mountain" is great once it gets going after 2 minutes. The mellotron and drumming is outstanding.

There is something about "How Fortunate The Man With None" that stick's in my head long after the song is over. It's actually a DEAD CAN DANCE cover from their album "Into The Labyrinth". "The Fiery Flower" opens with flute and builds as mellotron arrives then a full sound with vocals. It's ok. "Moonface Is Dead" is a dark, slow paced track with mellotron and vocals."The Riddle Seeker" is the song I like the best, featuring guitar and organ with powerful and intense vocals.The guitar melody is a highlight. The song and album end with the tinkling of the piano.

This is a good record that I recommend, but their next one "The Grimalkin" is quite a bit better.

 The Grimalkin by NOEKK album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 11 ratings

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The Grimalkin
Noekk Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. NOEKK are two men from Germany who used to be part of a Death Metal band called EMPYRIUM. They wanted to create a project that payed homage to the Prog legends of the seventies.Their first record is called "The Water Sprite". You could describe their sound as gloomy and dark in a seventies style.There are elements of Folk with mellotron, but also lots of heaviness with guitar riffs and strong, alto, unique vocals. And in the seventies tradition this album is only 42 minutes long.

"The Albatross" opens with a dark pastoral mood as reserved vocals come in. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound. The organ especially. Heavy riffs and mellotron follow. The pastoral section is back from earlier as the contrasts continue. I like the piano with drums after 5 minutes as mellotron rolls in. Chunky bass too. Just a fabulous track ! "The Grimalkin" opens with sparse, dark piano melodies. Very eerie as fragile vocals enter the scene. It kicks in before 1 1/2 minutes. Nice. Again like the first song they really contrast well the mellow parts with the incredible heavy sections. I just love their style and sound.

"Codex Deserta" opens heavily reminding me of IN THE WOODS... before it settles before 2 minutes. Vocals follow and the tempo picks up after 3 minutes. The heaviness is back before 4 1/2 minutes with mellotron. Again the contrast of heavy and pastoral is featured throughout.

If you like that dark, heavy style of music you owe it to yourself to check this band out. Highly recommended.

 The Grimalkin by NOEKK album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 11 ratings

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The Grimalkin
Noekk Experimental/Post Metal

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4,5 stars really!

After I've listened a couple of times to NOEKK's quickly produced debut which appealed much to me despite its imperfection I ordered immediately their second one without having heard a single note from it before. I should mention that this is not something I do regularly since I usually hate wasting my money on mispurchases. But what a nice surprise when I've put this CD the first time into my player! It really could fascinate me right from the beginning though the tracklist is telling already that this is not a simple song-based album. Three tracks only, one of them having 20 minutes - that reminds pretty much to classic 70's prog. And like on their first one already this is as well the main influence on here. But the difference to "The Water Sprite" is that "The Grimalkin" is a much more uniform and coherent album dominated by a somber and mythic atmosphere and the classically trained vocals by Thomas Helm (aka Funghus Baldachin). Most probably people having problems with such a (admittedly quite pathetic but never icky) voice and this type of continuously dreary mood will hardly find any pleasure here. Neither would I recommend this band to those ones preferring nicely structured songs, hook lines and technical perfection. Though certainly this one has been produced much more carefully than their first one all vocal parts on here are first takes according to the band members' own words. "Noekk's music is created by intuition. It comes to me when I'm on my own and I can listen to my inner voice" says Funghus Baldachin who's the driving force within the duo. His intention is to catch the magic of the moment and to tell long and weird stories by his music.

So what can we expect musically from this record? As said already we have here organ and Mellotron dominated retro sound but neither your usual hard edged retro/neo symphonic prog nor any DT-flavoured prog metal. Rather is it a truly innovative blend of old-school prog and hardrock style presented in a very modern garment. Baldachin describes their music as a mixture of progrock with touches of folk and even doom metal. He recommends this album especially to Prog fans who are probably not really the right clientele for his other projects EMPYRIUM and THE VISION BLEAK. But of course this is just a very rough description of the three well-elaborated compositions on here. Basically the music alternates between more contemplative and pastoral sections, acoustic ones that bring slightly OPETH into mind and organ-driven heavy metal ones with some oriental flavor at times. Though there isn't an obvious difference in quality of the tracks I'm personally preferring a bit the last one. Whenever I listen to this album in an appropriate mood (I'd recommend to listen to it on a quiet and reflective evening) I get completely lost in space and time by its music and after it has finished my only thought is that it's much too short.

Although this release is still very recent I'm already quite certain that it will develop to one of my all time favs. Thus I'd be highly tempted to rate it with the full score. But being aware that this is just my very own impression and it might be not suitable for any prog fan generally I'll keep my enthusiasm under control. Anyway I think it deserves for sure 4 stars since it's really an excellent album and should appeal to any open-minded prog fan and admirers of KING CRIMSON, ANEKDOTEN, LANDBERK, OPETH, ANATHEMA, GREEN CARNATION or IN THE WOODS.

 The Water Sprite by NOEKK album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.30 | 13 ratings

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The Water Sprite
Noekk Experimental/Post Metal

Review by slowfire85

3 stars Ken Golden at laser's edge rated this album as his second favorite symphonic album of 2005 behind Wobbler's Hinterland, so I thought I'd give it a try. I liked Empyrium, but could never really get into them to much because I felt the lyrics didn't go well with the music. This band is a mix of 70's progand modern metal with some more modern effects and keys, and it works quite well. The lyrics are generally based on mysticism, fantasy, with a german poem and the writings of tolkien as influence for two of the seven songs. The songs are generally 5 to 8 minutes long and heavily dominated by dark, melancholic atmospheres courtesy of the mellotron and sung with clean vocals throughout. This album got to me after about 3 listens, and it still grows on me months later. I'm not really to sure of any bands I would directly compare them to, I have listened to all of Landberk's albums and the only thing I see that they have in common is a melancholic atmosphere that permeates throughout, but the overall sound itself is not similar to me.
 The Water Sprite by NOEKK album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.30 | 13 ratings

BUY
The Water Sprite
Noekk Experimental/Post Metal

Review by hdfisch
Prog Reviewer

3 stars According to their own words the two musicians (Schwadorf and Helm) behind NOEKK created this album quite spontaneously without doing any takes before just by digesting their ideas and recording them. Taking this fact into account one has to say that "The Water Sprite" became a really remarkable debut album. Combining their melancholic mystic neo folk elements known from their former band EMPYRIUM with Mellotron dominated 70's styled hard rock the result is a sound not that far away from LANDBERK's. It's basically Baldachin's very characteristic and unusual voice resembling rather an opera singer's one not only due to its pathos which gives this band a quite unique appearance.

So what is to be expected by a prog fan from this album? Certainly not really high class quality and technical perfection but still a quite interesting and enjoyable album to listen to especially if one prefers the dark side of prog. The whole album is dominated by a melancholic atmosphere that is already expressed very well by the art work. Songs are ranging from calm, solemn moments with emotional vocals to dark heavy one with lots of Mellotron and changing moods and tempos, maybe not as intricate as ANEKDOTEN, but darker than URIAH HEEP to give some hint for categorising them. Highlights are certainly "Strange Mountain" with its epic and climatic character, the very well-done DEAD CAN DANCE cover and the highly versatile final track "The Riddle Seeker" . But overall there's not any song on here which is a complete failure. They're all very easily memorable after one or two listens without having the character of a typical catchy airplay tune .

This album isn't really an essential one in Prog generally but anyway I gave it already a couple of spins and still find it fascinating and that's for me the best sign for an album to be worth the money spent. Everyone who likes mentioned bands should give it a try, especially since it's available for an attractive price at least (quite oddly) outside of Germany. I'm curious already for their new album "The Grimalkin" that I just ordered today and I read positive reviews about!

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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