20 Apr 2016

Okketaehm: "Stones"

The wintry grey north has never looked or sounded better
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 that 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 2012 demo Stones from Contaminated Tones Productions and thought I might as well give it a listen on the way to work. Though the total play-time of Stones is a mere 18 minutes in length, those 18 minutes consist of the most grey, wintry, space-like ambience and raw black metal imaginable. The demo never left the car's CD player that day.

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 accompanied me was well befitting of the desolate roads, as four or five crows flew overhead. Stones expresses cold emotion through various parts of icy black metal passages, flanked by dark ambience and something that borderlines white noise mixed into one long track of 18 minutes.

"...truly Okketaehm is not far behind those in terms of quality and carefully crafted arrangements."

All these parts in conjunction with masterful production, which was never too hard or too soft, lead my mind to things like the vast emptiness of space, void-like depression and mist-veiled frostscapes. Not a pleasant atmosphere, really, but quite cathartic in its raw, unassuming nature. Characteristics like these I would normally attribute to bands like Darkspace, Ash Borer and Paysage d'Hiver, and truly Okketaehm is not far behind those in terms of quality and carefully crafted arrangements.

Obviously all these elements don't mean that Okketaehm is on to some overlooked style which has never been explored. The American band simply does it very very well, never resorting to some contrived attempt at innovation. Perhaps the experience was set in stone due to a string of coincidences, and Stones is certainly highly dependent on mindset and atmosphere, but Okketaehm's strangely half-melodic black metal pieces have enormous impact for music that doesn't present itself with much power and momentum.


Released in 2012 by Contaminated Tones Productions

Contaminated Tones Productions OFFICIAL SITE

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