Okkultokrati is a Norwegian “necromantic rock” band, meaning they combine black metal and hardcore for a combination that you might expect to be cringe-worthy but actually creates just the right amount of blackened crust. Via email I talked to vocalist/lyricist Tarblack about Okkultokrati and his thoughts on the Norwegian metal scene from which his band has risen. Read on, then listen to our exclusive premiere of “Nothing Awaits”, the new single from Okkultokrati’s upcoming album Snakereigns due out October 30th.
What does Okkultokrati mean exactly? Why did you choose it as your band’s name?
I guess roughly translated it would mean something like Occultocracy. Meaning occult rule, or occult upper class. We wanted a powerful and elite sounding name, and something that a hundred bands weren’t already named.
What motivated you to play a combination of black metal and hardcore? Which artists from each genre inspire you?
From punk, it’s mostly really classic bands like the Ramones, the Stooges, Black Flag, Misfits, Rudimentary Peni and Poison Idea. From metal, Black Sabbath, Ildjarn, Emperor and Judas Priest. I mean, there is just tons and tons more, and not limited to those narrow genres that inspire us. But those are the big ones we keep coming back to. I know there is seemingly a black metal/hardcore hybrid genre or a “blackened hardcore” style or whatever you want to call it that is popular out there, but we never intended to make anything that could fit in that category. We don’t sit around trying to make the guitars sound like “Wolverine Blues” or that whole schtick. We’re on an entirely different trip. “Feel the Darkness” sounds so much more bleak and menacing to us (to be clear, I like early Entombed/Nihilist fine, I just don’t see the point in any more bands sounding like that). We’re driven by another set of demons.
What does it mean to you to be included in Norway’s “Black Hole Crew”?
Black Hole Crew is our very informal, small circle of people drawn to each other for a somewhat similar musical philosophy and tastes to hang out and be creative and destructive. We weren’t happy with a lot of music coming out in our town so we felt we had to do something about it. So far the other active bands are Haust, Dark Times and Problems. Then you have smaller side-projects like Night, Blackest Woods, Sumar, etc. who might suddenly become more active and release more stuff. And then you have smaller, even more obscure things like Necrolust, Drugged SS, and other unnamed affiliated things that we have no control over and don’t even know what they’re going to come up with next. All I know is that it’s all an outlet. We need to keep busy or else we’ll go stir crazy!
What are your thoughts on Norway’s metal scene? Likes/dislikes? How has your music been perceived there?
I have no idea how we are perceived. People can love or hate us, it makes no difference. Norway has a great legacy of excellent metal bands. But it seems everything is pretty settled and established. I hate it when people reduce a genre to simply being a musical export or a tourist attraction. It just completely kills any hint of mystique or danger. That kind of attention has a tendency to bring a lot of lame cultural aspects on the side: you know, the industry types that cater to the lowest common denominator of metal stereotypes. That stuff annoys me to no end, and it never seems to go away. But I do like a lot of Norwegian metal and I get excited about younger bands like Töxik Death, Nekromantheon, and Obliteration who just throw out all the distracting bullshit and go straight for the jugular and just kill it every time!
Okkultokrati – “Nothing Awaits”