Okkultokrati’s Snakereigns: Blackened Hardcore Punk Works Surprisingly Well
I guess I missed the memo that said Turbonegro were the new cool band to be. However, aside from the fact that they’re both Norwegian, they both have a similar logo, and they each employ Ouroboros imagery, it’s just lazy press releases that liken Okkultokrati to Turbonegro — because they actually do not sound much alike.
If you strip away the humor, the production, and the charisma of Turbonegro, you’d get halfway to Okkultokrati. This is raw, no-nonsense, blackened hardcore punk. Which, if you really get down to it, means absolutely nothing, so I will elaborate. Part of a group of similar dark punk acts emerging from Norway called The Black Hole Crew, Okkultokrati join the ranks of bands like Haust and Dark Times, who warp simple black metal to fit a bigger mold that includes punk and even aspects of thrash.
It’s easy to add feedback and muddy production to something and dub it “black metal-influenced,” but the songs on Snakereigns are anything but garbled. The carefully layered riffs on tracks like “No Ouroborous” and the almost classic rock-like solos on “I Thought of Demons” make this record a cohesive, listenable medley of sounds, rather than the mess that the title “punk rock black metal” brings to mind.
This isn’t just a hard-edged race to the finish, though. The sludgey doom of longer numbers like “Acid Eagle One” and “We So Heavy” let each song meander through various textures and create pairings that unexpectedly work together. Black Flag meets Darkthrone? Not at all something I’d think would sound good, let alone want to listen to.
But my favorite number comes with the second to last song, “Let The Sun Receive Her King.” It’s a completely different animal from all the other tracks on the album, and yet, it still has that nasty dark edge to it. This is the closest to Turbonegro we get — but it’s Turbonegro as dragged through shit and piss and vomit. Which is a great look. One I kind of prefer, to tell the truth.
I admit, it was false advertizing that caught my interest but in Okkultokrati’s case, it worked out pretty well.
Okkultokrati’s Snakereigns is out now. You can listen to the title track here, and purchase the album here.