Okkultokrati + Snakereigns
OK, let’s be clear about one thing: This isn’t a record review, this is a WARNING!!!
Within the first few seconds, Okkultokrati have already touched a nerve: The opening assault of “No Ouroboros” is an anthemic sucker-punch that took me completely by surprise. It’s gritty and more than a little aggro but somehow, strangely majestic at the same time. To be honest, I was stunned and it left me wondering if these guys had simply caught me off guard or if they’d be able to keep it up for the duration.
Before charging in for round two, consider that this ain’t exactly the boys’ first rodeo. Snakereigns is the band’s second LP so add to that their two EP’s, two splits and a demo, these guys have already got plenty of wear and tear on their treads. Okkultokrati have been prime movers on their home turf as part of the infamous Black Hole Crew for several years now. While we’re on the topic of “what’s going on in Norway”, this is as good a time as any to ruffle some feathers and say that in my book, these guys kick the unholy snot out of Kvelertak who I personally find to be shrill and boring by comparison. Yes, yes. Save your cryin’ for mama, hipsters. The fight is still on!
The album’s title track, “Snakereigns” makes it pretty clear that these guys aren’t just throwing wild punches. While it clocks in at a mere 1:46, Okkultokrati know how to do more with less and go after it like a conjugal prison visit. It weaves it’s way quickly into the vicious sludge-crust of “Invisible Ley” which slows the pace a little but you’re still on the hook for one hell of a wild ride.
“I Thought Of Demons” puts the petal to the metal and is another one of the album’s standout tracks. The are riffs that walk the walk and if you pay close attention, there’s also some tasty deep guitar licks at the end as well, deep-fried in germanium fuzz. Nothing fancy of course – just a dash of flavour added to the brew before it blows up and incinerates your face.
We’re at the flipside now so what’s the damage at this point? Well, as often as it’s been tried these days, it’s no easy feat taking the raw, honest energy of hard-knocks gutter punk and fusing together with the nihilistic fury of blackened metal and getting it to sound just right. Besides, I think that’s a bit of a shortsighted way to describe Okkultokrati‘s sound and sells them a bit too short.
There’s no denying the clear and present influence that hardcore has had on Okkultokrati‘s sound, but it’s not that wanking, overblown “tough guy” vibe that has so much to prove and so little way of doing it. Likewise, the influence of the dark side of metal is subtle and far more respectable than dragging the listener down the road of some sort of corny and ill-concieved ethos. What’s going on here is something a little less ambitious and a lot more authentic as Snakereigns makes a statement all on it’s own.
Not content to just stick it in and break it off with another quick blast of rabid intensity, “Acid Eagle One” is psychedelic deathwish of epic proportions. Followed by the doom-laden girth of “We So Heavy”, it becomes clear that while Snakereigns kicks ass with extreme prejudice, it also shows a tremendous sense of artistic depth as well. Both of these tunes clock in at over 7:00 in length but rivet the listener’s attention.
Okkultokrati go out with guns blazing and the rock rolling hard on “Let The Sun Receive Her King” and if you were expecting these guys to coast across the finish line, forget it. “Nothing Awaits” roars like a beast, serving up a strong finish.
Call it “blackened hardcore”, “black ‘n roll”, call it what you will. The bottom line is that Okkultokrati set their hooks in deep and dish out songs that you actually look forward to hearing again. Snakereigns is locked, loaded and for release at the end of October. Furious and anthemic from start to finish, this is music for riots!!
Snakereigns will be released by Norway’s Fysisk Format.
October 22nd in Europe and and October 30th for North America.