What do you get if you cross a stoner rock band with the clash?" asked no person ever. But the real question should be why has no one ever asked this question? Would it work? Should it work? Would anyone enjoy this concoction of sound?
Bokassa are one of the few outfits bold enough to ask the questions others had feared to ask. Exactly what would "stoner punk" sound like? This three piece from Trondheim are pulling together their influences of Kyuss, NOFX, Fu Manchu and Bad Religion to forge a sound like no other. Hence, they are swiftly becoming the defining band in the genre they themselves have dared to create.
March 25th see's the release of the bands debut full length album, and to give you a brief preview my exact words on first listen were OH.MY.GOD! Divide & Conquer delivers a sound of jaw dropping uniqueness that sums up perfectly the stoner punk term.
The two minute intro builds the atmosphere, traditional stoner vibes a plenty. Bass heavy, slow and purposeful. When track Last Night starts it’s like being hit in the face by a shovel! The speed and intensity of the sound is quadrupled; a punk tune at its purest but mixed with stoner riffs. It’s a struggle to define in a few words just what this is like.
Walker slows the pace a little and throws a little hardcore into the mix, vocally very similar to old timers act Assert. Musically we get hardcore/punky verses with a stoner chorus, but with something else thrown in. It took me three of four listens of the album to work it out, but there’s a definite Entombed influence within the guitar work too.
Crocsodile Dundee is far more anthemic; a thumping solid drum line from tune Olav Dowkes accompanied by a solid, slightly darker bass line Bård Linga all topped off with lyrics that will surely get any live crowd singing along.
Picking up the pace again is Genocidal delves deeper lyrically and musically, a more classic stoner track with hints of punk aggression. It highlights perfectly that these Norwegians are not a one trick pony and they can stretch the musically boundaries in multiple directions.
Five Finger highlights this emerging genre to a tee; angst ridden vocals, thrashy guitars and deep thumping bass. A theme that runs through Here Goes Nothing too, Jørn Kaarstad’s vocal work is hardcore primed with punk undertones and just so suited to the whole sound the band are producing.
Nearing the end of a quite frankly brutal half an hour Retaliation is 90% punk with a little thrash thrown for good measure. Pure speed and aggression. And to round off the album is Stoner Anthem which does exactly what it says on the tin. Slow, deep and heavy as it comes.
For a first full length album this offering stands head and shoulders over the majority of debut’s. That the band are defining a new genre themselves with their recording adds a little more gravitas to their work. This piece has blown my mind, and has gone to #1 in my list of albums released so far this year, outstanding!
"Divide & Conquer", due out on March 25th via All Good Clean Records.