Thursday, April 5, 2012

Okketaehm - Stones (CTP 003 - I)

The second album from this reclusive act is sure to appeal to anyone with even a cursory interest in black metal. Thick, suffocating, and concealing subliminal uneasiness, "Stones" rewards the listener with feelings of uncertainty, awkwardness and fear. Preoccupied only by it's own mission and it's own patience, there is a vastness and scope few bands attempt and succeed in meeting. Somewhere between everything, there is a comfort that one can only find upon the realization that we are all, ultimately, consumed.

CTP - 003 - I (QTY = 75 Copies) SOLD OUT


12/13/2012 - Goul's Crypt

I was on my way out the door one early winter morning in freezing Denmark. I got in the car to go to work on the hitherto coldest and snowiest morning this year, and like so many times before I was going over my CDs to find a couple to bring on the trip. I was going to go with some Entombed and Darkthrone, feeling like listening to some old school stuff, but then I found Okketaehm's promo "Stones" from Contaminated Tones Productions and thought I might aswell give a listen on the way to work. Though the total play-time of Stones is a mere 18 minutes of grey, wintry, space-like ambience and raw black metal the demo never left the car's CD player even though the trip is almost 40 minutes each way.

It was early, the climate was frosty and the road to work was long. Having only ingested some toast and a cup of luke-warm coffee I wasn't much in the mood for anything as I began my journey through the soundscapes of Okketaehm. The music that met me through the speakers was well befitting of the desolate roads. Stones consists of various parts of icy black metal, dark ambience and something that borderlines white noise mixed into one long track of 18 minutes, and all these parts in conjunction with masterful production lead my mind to things like the vast emptiness of space, void-like depression and mist-veiled frostscapes. Characteristics I normally attribue to bands like Darkspace, Ash Borer and Paysage d'Hiver. I admit I at this point wasn't much focused on my driving.

Let's not kid ourselves, ofcourse Okketaehm isn't perfect or innovating, but it sure as hell did make my drive to- and from work a lot more enjoyable. Okketaehm provides incredibly accurate atmospheres, and while you at times wonder wether the music is still on or someone is just vacuumcleaning in a nearby room it simply adds to the enormous impact the half-melodic black metal pieces of Stones presents.

07/18/2012 - Aristocrazia Webzine 

Inutile girarci intorno, la "cascadian scene" oggi la fa da padrona nel black metal d'oltreoceano (e spesso non solo). Eppure, al di là della moda, al di là dell'esposizione mediatica temporanea, è innegabile il fascino che questa è in grado di esercitare. Gli spazi, i colori, le inquietudini che questo stile è riuscito ad aggiungere al black metal ne hanno reso lo stampo atmosferico perfettamente riconoscibile tra i tanti.

Ora, il progetto statunitense Okketaehm non si sa da dove arrivi: potrebbero suonare da uno scantinato a Phoenix, nel mezzo del deserto, per quanto ne sa il resto del mondo, ma ciò che scorre attraverso le note di questo lavoro monotraccia è un'interessantissima esplorazione delle coste lambite ormai da diversi anni da formazioni come Velnias, Skagos, Ash Borer e innumerevoli altri. Ciascuna di queste band è riuscita o sta riuscendo a interpretare a proprio modo il canone dettato inizialmente dagli ormai immancabili Agalloch e Wolves In The Throne Room, e la band americana non fa eccezione - sempre che ci sia più di una persona alle spalle di questo monicker, dalla fascetta dell'audiocassetta non è dato comprendere altro che l'immagine di copertina, un insieme di lapidi, ed una sgranata foto interna raffigurante quello che sembra il rudere di un edificio in mezzo ad un bosco -.

Ed ecco che il riffing atmosferico è soltanto una delle facce di "Stones": questo piccolo tape unisce sapientemente violenza a spettralità, incarnata nello specifico da ampi e dilatati riverberi che lasciano correre l'immaginazione e le sensazioni dell'ascoltatore, guidato da una fioca distorsione, un feedback solitario, all'interno del quale può scorgere tutto e il contrario di tutto. Una nota ci segue, per poi lasciare di nuovo spazio al fruscio, ma questo può essere acqua che scorre, da dove provenga e dove porti non è dato saperlo, o rumori spettrali dall'angolo buio appena adocchiato. Adesso una chitarra trascina verso luoghi più congeniali al drone, poi, di nuovo la violenza, la velocità, di nuovo il black metal. E così via, si susseguono le alternanze, fino alla fine di questa ottima prova, che fa dell'evocazione e della riflessione i propri punti di forza.

Decisamente non adatto per chi cerca adrenalina ed emozioni forti, estremamente indicato per chi predilige un ascolto più posato ed intimo.

06/28/2012 - Metal Core Webzine

Wow was this some pretty damn good raw as fuckin hell black metal. This band can create a mood and just sink you in with feeling and emotion. The riffs, the style of music, the way it is played and the vocals all play a part in this. This isn’t just saw fly by night black metal band screaming about satan and all that. Sure this is fast and raw, but to me black metal is a lot about feeling and emotion and this had both. This easily comes from the pits of hell.

06/06/2012  - Metal Archives - Zodijackyl

Okketaehm produce a very rough style of black metal that, despite its outward roughness, shows a very high level of refinement. The atmosphere seems to be tuned finely, fitting the music and creating a vibe that creates the whole sound that the music needs to thrive. The riffing has a bit of a medieval flair to it, reminiscent of certain second wave black metal, especially early Satyricon. It is executed as well as many of those legendary bands.

The arrangement of the whole demo is an interesting choice - one track, just over 18 minutes, moving quite seemlessly between black metal and ambient, noisy interludes that keep the same atmosphere as the guitar-oriented parts. There are clearly quite a few sections, as it changes between styles several times, but it is all assembled into one very coherent and inseparable piece, and it feels like a very complete piece, flowing from start to finish. Part of the strength of the music is the cohesiveness which holds all of it together, something that seems difficult yet essential in this style. Simplicity is often key, but the nuances of putting the parts together into a whole embodies the art.

The piece opens with a majestic melody, comparable to a medieval trumpet anthem, the guitars offering the shrill feeling of a chorus of high pitched trumpets, and the triumphant tune and timing complete it. The huge, medieval sound lasts through the first riff, reminiscent of Satyricon's "Dark Medieval Times" - the atmosphere and the riffing remind me of this throughout. Soon, the piece moves into an ambient section, and there will be several more interludes. They carry some melody and feel very welcome in the lengthy arrangement.

The atmosphere completes the piece. Both the black metal/guitar parts and the ambient/noisy parts are unified by slightly foggy production - it obscures some of the minute details while emphasizing the shape of the whole. There is a mystical feel to it, a mix of Satyricon's DMT and Sacramentum's "Far Beyond the Sun". This lends itself nicely to emphasizing the neo-medieval vibe that is present from the start. While not being an "atmospheric black metal" band as that style is generally known, the atmosphere completes the composition and sound nicely. It takes away a bit of the unpleasant edge that often makes raw black metal nearly unlistenable and turns it into a very pleasant sound.

This is a really good demo and one of the few things of this quality to come from a US black metal band in recent years. The underproduction is beautifully done, the composition is strong, and it comes together nicely. Listen to this and keep an eye on the band in the future. 

10/10/2012 - Destructive Music

Now onto their sophomore demo release, OKKETAEHM from the US of A are backing up their debut demo “Maggots” with their 2012 opus “Stones”. Now having searched around I found very limited information on this Raw Black Metal band, even it’s members and exact location, so their underground status, even kvlt status, seems to be high!

Something else that will keep this USBM band in good stead with the Underground community is living up to their title of Raw Black Metal! They certainly do just that, with furious high energy blasts of Black Metal shot directly at your heart, this bands cold icy demeanor is only slowed to inject more venom filled noise and static into the mix.  As an air raid siren sounds out through the cold dense fog, Okketaehm ready themselves, preparing for the onslaught that is inevitable!

The noise, the suspense, the tension… it carries on and on into the black! Onwards it goes, descending further into the murky depths, deep into the abyss! Through misty production and tremendous Raw Black Metal ambiance, Okketaehm dwell!

Hatred and hostility, vitriolic moods, pure and unabated blackness of the heart and of the soul! Then as if a switch has been flicked the brutal assault and barrage begins once more and reigns supreme with dominant fury! “Stones” is one song, eighteen minutes of anger and malice and is the epitome of Raw Black Metal! 

11/27/2012 - Orthodox Black Metal 

Although I searched a lot, I found very few information on the internet about Okketaehm which come from the U.S.A. and apart from the demo “Stones” of 2012 that I recently received, the band has released one more demo in 2010. This album contains only one track of eighteen minutes. The band wants to create the atmosphere and to set up the scenery combining harsh, Scandinavian Black Metal with ambient mainly, as also with noise influences.

The album begins with an awesome riff, majestic, epic and at the same time dark and imposing, creating the impression that we deal with a very interesting release. Unfortunately exactly after fifty seconds of repetition of the mentioned above riff, an eight minutes ambient part begins so that they continue with a six minutes Black Metal part after the ninth minute of the track. So you understand that the album is more ambient than Black Metal. Apart from that, in the Black Metal track, there are one or two interesting riffs that they are repeated and become tedious, while the structure of the truck makes it completely monotonous and boring. Concerning the ambient part of the album, I can’t judge if it is good for the genre as I don’t like ambient and my knowledge and experience concerning that is very limited.

The guitars are distorted and raw, they don't have any mistakes but also they don't have anything special. The bass can't be heard almost at all, while the drums are those trying to save somehow the album with some interesting lines. The vocals are raw Black Metal vocals, quite expressive and interesting. The production is very dirty, as an approach is correct as it absolutely fits to the bands style but its materialization isn't good as noise is created which makes the listen more difficult. The mix has maintained the characteristics of a rehearsal, something that fits to the sound, with the only mistake to be the bass' abcence. The lyrics are written in English but they are not contained in the promo that i received.

Generally the ambient elements Black Metal isn't something that i like, i just tolerate them, when the album is good. In the case of Okketaehm, the ambient outreaches the permitted borders of that kind of elements inside a composition and it becomes the composition itself. On the other hand, the Black Metal parts are monotonous and boring. So ”Stones” belongs in the category of those albums that he who listened to it, will never ασχοληθεί with the band again. As you understand by everything mentioned above, don't even bother listen to this one.

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