Hailing from Oslo, Norway, Okkultokrati belong to the Black Hole Crew, alongside the likes of Blackest Woods and Haust. The band have quite a colourful history; in 2013, guitarist BlackRace injured his hand and was told he could not play string instruments anymore. Instead of quitting, he switched to keyboard and subsequently added it to the band’s sound. Boris Leaf switched to guitars and Kjetil Nernes filled in for live bass duties. ‘Raspberry Dawn’ is the band’s fourth full length and sees the addition of synth player Feffe Severin, creating a whole new world of possibilities for Okkultokrati’s sound and a medium through which absolutely nothing is sacred.
If you’re familiar with the band’s previous releases then it’s best to put the likes of ‘Night Jerks’ and ‘Snakereigns’ out of your mind before delving into ‘Raspberry Dawn’, as they’re offering up music that’s leagues away from anything they’ve produced before; they sound weird, wired and have totally reinvented themselves. Classic 70’s strings vibe with crusty sounding punk beats, married up to aggressive sounding vintage metal; as if that’s not enough to get your head around, the band then mix in throbbing pulsations of dark wave and razor sharp, psychedelic loops. Despite the plethora of influences at work here, each song feels effortless and strangely catchy. They are obviously playing from a place that has metal at its core, but work in a progressive edge that adds an air of acid tinged mayhem to the entire record, packing enough reverb to make your head spin.
Fuzz drenched guitars roar alongside hoarse vocals that will doubtless draw comparisons to Oranssi Pazuzu. Organs and manic static add a curious sci-fi feel to an already macabre album and it’s likely you will find something to enjoy on Raspberry Dawn, whatever your musical tastes. Countless comparisons will occur to you throughout the duration of this album, but none are quite fitting. If you were to lock Ian Curtis, Robert Smith, Mat McNerney and Fenriz in a recording studio for 24 hours then this would likely be the musical fallout.
(9/10 Angela Davey)