Okkultokrati alchemize grimy punk and metal into a dark triumph on La Ilden Lyse | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Okkultokrati alchemize grimy punk and metal into a dark triumph on La Ilden Lyse



Oslo six-piece Okkultokrati cast a net into rock’s grittiest, dankest seas and dredge up an electrifying hybrid sound: they twist influences from heathen black metal and thrash together with hedonistic rock ’n’ roll and furious crust punk. Much of the band’s music seems designed for underground shows, drag races, and various more questionable activities, but in the 12 years since Okkultokrati’s first demo, their songwriting has grown steadily more complex. By 2016’s Raspberry Dawn they’d expanded into their most Technicolor palette to date, incorporating synth-laden postpunk, psychedelic weirdness, and even hints of glam rock. Four years later, the brand-new La Ilden Lyse (which translates roughly to “Keep the Fire Burning”) charges back into blacks and grays. When I listen to the record on a walk outside (an activity I enjoyed much more frequently before lockdown), I almost expect tracks such as the lush yet ferocious closer, “The Dying Grass Moon,” to make the still-emerging spring leaves shrivel up and drop. But through destruction often comes creation, and La Ilden Lyse seems hell-bent on both—for all their bleakness, these songs have a kinetic energy that could reanimate the dead.   v

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