Who says there are no good political songs anymore? When Okkultokrati vocalist Black Qvisling sardonically sneers “World peace!” on the opening track of Raspberry Dawn it says everything about how well that ol’ Miss World slogan is doing on planet Earth in the year 2016. On the plus side, Okkultokrati do a good job of proving that the corpse of rock ‘n’ roll still has a lot of exhilarating spasms left in it. The band’s trick lies in welding clear influences together, but in ways that never seem gratuitous, never sound like copycat showboating; they’re fun, but they sure ain’t dumb.
The opening ten minutes are taken at a gallop and acclimatise the listener to the band’s comfort zone: a likeable crunching melee of punk/rock. Then the surprises start flowing. ‘We Love You’ begins and ends on a whirl of gothic atmospherics and martial synth, before highlight ‘Suspension’ follows the darkness down and circles the mantra “suspension…Of belief,” delivered like Ian Curtis drowning in a pond, the vocals shadowed and replaced at well-timed intervals by a female counterpart. We’re hauled back toward sunlight by ‘Hard to Please, Easy to Kill’, which sounds like Iggy Pop’s ‘Trainspotting’ punching through some unholy amalgam of orchestral black metal and punk, then the final triptych loads up on every trick imaginable from windmill guitar strums and space-y synthesisers (‘Ocular Violence’), full-on lead guitar riffage (‘Magic People’), souring post rock vibes and bass heavy thump (‘Hidden Future’.) Raspberry Dawn is a blast and not a single moment outstays its welcome – this band knows to leave the listener thirsty for more.