Music

Okkultokrati: Raspberry Dawn

Oslo-based unit takes us down to the dungeon where the jams are dank and the torture is pretty.


Okkultokrati

Raspberry Dawn

Label: Southern Lord
US Release Date: 2016-09-30
UK Release Date: 2016-09-30
Amazon
iTunes

Okkultokrati defies easy classification. It’s goth, glam, industrial and space rock all at the same time. One suspects that the band’s main dude, Erik Svarte, has a number of classic Hawkwind records in his collection as well as all the Voivod releases. You can probably find him enjoying some Ministry and Joy Division right next to Darkthrone and Bathory while he sips a favorite beverage from the skulls of his enemies. More important than those influences (or Mr. Svarte’s drink of choice), though, is what the man himself whips up on this eight track exploration of the weird.

These are transmissions from somewhere deep inside another dimension, a place where signals from late night metal shows got jammed in the ether, absorbed into the soil and fed to baby space creatures who then traveled to our humble little slab of time to whip up some weighty merriment in the form of records such has this one. Raspberry Dawn opens with “World Peace”, maybe the first and only example of black metal disco. It’s a head-banging, beer-swilling bite of magic that relents not one iota in its six minutes and six seconds. If you have viscera left by the time this track comes to a close you probably weren’t paying attention and should be ashamed of yourself.

As with the best rock ‘n’ roll, there’s something exhilarating about the tune, something that makes you feel like maybe you’re doing something subversive just by listening. The thrill of that, the gooseflesh of it all, doesn’t come all that often but it comes several times here. Svarte could be transmitting this stuff from a dungeon somewhere around the fifth circle of hell or from a dank club on the Lower East Side circa 1977. Iggy, Alan Vega, the Ramones and maybe even James Chance are looking over at this lot and sneering, smiling or shoving broken glass into their collective chests in approval.

There are new elements alive here, including the addition of synthesizer maestro Feffe Severin, who gives the band a kick in the teeth and expands the spectrum of darkness the band occupies. It’s not all tweety-tweet-tweet synth stuff, either. There’s some stuff, such as on “We Love You”, that comes straight from the heart of your sci-fi nightmares and onto the big screen of your mind. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s dramatic and it’ll bath you in the warm bubbles of blackness that have always and will always sooth your leather-clad soul.

The keyboard sounds proved the perfect backdrop to the vomited forth vocals heard on that aforementioned track as well as “Hard to Please, Easy to Kill” (imagine the Cure jamming with Bauhaus and Ministry on a cold autumn night), the what-the-eff of “Hidden Future” and the ballad-y, ambient minded “Ocular Violence”.

Toward the end of the record, things can get a little same-sounding for some ears, but there’s an unmistakable dark and magnetic energy that more than makes up for the stumbling quality we experience there. In the end, you’re not listening to this for the same reason you listen to a Bob Dylan song, so why not turn off your mind, sit back and float downstream. Gently, violently or any ol’ way you choose it.

7

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

Keep reading... Show less
6

This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

Keep reading... Show less
Theatre

​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

Keep reading... Show less
10

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less
7

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image