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Kikimora - Dirty Nails Award winner

Dirty Nails
by Mike McMahan at 23 May 2021, 4:48 PM

KIKIMORA, founded in 2011 by guitarist extraordinaire Nikolo Kotzev, is a Bulgarian Heavy Metal/Neo-Classic Rock band. Their latest album, released on Escape Music Ltd and titled “Dirty Nails”, is an eleven-song release, presenting a sound not unlike that of influences DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW. Very strong in its musicianship, the band weaves its way through this record with an expertise rarely found in this day and time.

Kotzev is an industry vet, active since the early eighties, and most commonly known for the band (or more appropriately, solo project) BRAZEN ABBOT and the 2001 Rock Opera “Nostradamus”. He is obviously a VERY serious musician, and has, over the years, worked with vocalists Goran EdmanJoe Lynn TurnerJorn Lande and Glenn Hughes, as well as a host of others. With KIKIMORA, named for a house spirit in ancient Slavic mythology (thought to be the root evil of sleep paralysis), Kotzev has formed an impressive group of musicians to release an English language album full of explosive music.

The opening track, “Bogeyman”, is a heavy hitter, based around a fantastic guitar riff. The keyboard and organ work on this song is stunning, offering a short but effective solo at the midway point. The bass and drum work are also quite good, with Tsevkov and Todorov certainly holding their own as well as holding everything together nicely. The vocal work on the song is amazing, with Nikola Zdravkovbeing more than capable of turning on the fireworks.

His ability shines throughout this record, and the follow-up song, “The Chosen One”, is just another example. This song reminds me somewhat of Graham Bonnett era RAINBOW on multiple levels; with Kotzev’s impressive, rolling guitar riffs and flashy fills being very reminiscent of Ritchie Blackmore’s late seventies and early eighties output. Again, the entire band performance is other-worldly, and the song is possibly my favorite track on the record. On this record, that is a very strong statement.

Highlights abound here. “Free” is an incredibly beautiful ballad, with Zdravkov’s voice shining. “The Hustler” returns to the heavier fare and does it well. “Cry, Baby, Cry!” is another moment that screams RAINBOW influence, at least musically. I could go on and on, with each cut becoming its own highlight for the duration of the album.

I truly hope to see the guys roaming about the United States at some point, in support of this record. They are one of the strongest I have heard in recent memory, and “Dirty Nails” is an early leader for my end of year top 10. If you have interest in acts like DIORAINBOW, or DEEP PURPLE, or just an appreciation of virtuosic musicianship, you will want to run to this one… Fast.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Bogeyman
2. The Chosen One
3. Free
4. The Hustler
5. Love And Pray
6. The Endless Song
7. King Rock N’ Roll
8. Cry, Baby, Cry!
9. Lost Soul
10. Prisoner
11. Liar
Nikolo Kotzev – Guitars
Nikola Zdravkov – Vocals
Nikolay Todorov – Drums and Vocals
Nikolay Tsevkov – Bass
Alexander Antov – Hammond Organ, Keyboards and Vocals
Record Label: Escape Music Ltd


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Edited 23 March 2023

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