Okkultokrati – Raspberry Dawn

Posted: 25 September 2016 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , ,

Southern Lord – 30th September 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s a new release on Southern Lord. What more do you need to know? I mean, it’s not going to be some delicate chamber pop or winsome indie effort, is it? Hurry on by if you’re on the market for some chilled-out glitchtronica or ambient, or indeed anything that isn’t ball-bustingly nasty… right? Well, almost. With Okkultokrati’s new album, Raspberry Dawn, the label with a reputation based on its commitment to gnarly, guitar-based brutality takes a break from business as usual to offer something rather different – although it’s still by no means commercial, accessible, or easy listening.

Pitched as being ‘weird, wired and quite possibly the holy grail for those looking for radical rock reinvention and new sensations in the current era’, Raspberry Dawn promises an amalgam of ‘classic 70’s riffing, snotty punk, and brash old school metal, inventively mixed with pulses and spikes of dark wave and ice cold, psychedelic repetition.’

In truth, it’s oftentimes a pretty ‘what the fuck?’ kind of album: ‘World Peace’ is a four-chord punk stomper at heart, but with piston-pumping drums, black metal vocals and all sorts else, not least of all some doomy synths, thrown in. It’s kinda like a mash-up of the Sex Pistols and The Damned in their ‘gothic’ phase with Quorthon on vocal duties. There are changes in tempo and eardrum-busting leaps in volume, too. What DO you make of such a mess of stuff? Christ – or Satan -only knows what’s going on with the title track, a punching punky-pub rocker at heart, it also tips a nod to the old-school speed-metal of Mötörhead Frenzied, fucked-up fun, t’s probably the most straightforward track on the album, even when a piano enters the mix in the final bars.

It’s experimental, but not in the conventional sense: aside from the dark ambient passage at the start of ‘We Love You, which starts out as a darkwave electro groover before rupturing into a psychotic industrial/metal reimagining of The Psychedelic Furs, Raspberry Dawn is very much centred around solid, square 4/4 rhythms played at high speed and fairly standard chord sequences knocked out on overdriven guitars. The snarling vocals in themselves aren’t all that unusual. But that doesn’t make it ordinary.

‘Suspension’ is a lurid, hypnotic opiate haze of a nightmarish dreamscape, woozy and uncomfortable. The psychotic psychobilly attack of ‘Hard to Please, Easy to Kill’ is a snarling synth-driven beast with a throbbing bassline, and ‘Hidden Future’ is a snarling black metal Big Black squall.

There’s a lot going on. A lot going on. You need to concentrate to appreciate.



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