Bokassa – ‘Divide & Conquer’.

Bokassa – Trondheim, Norway.

Cover photo credit: Erlend Lånke Solbu.

Bokassa hail from Norway and they play some form of Rock music. Now even after hearing the words “Norway” and “Rock Music” you know (or rather you should) that you are about to witness something not for the feint of heart.

The band’s impressive back catalogue is well, impressive and with the latest album takes their Stoner Rock/Sludge/Punk crossover into further riff-laden unrepentant territory.

The opening notes of ‘Impending Doom’ are a clear tell both in name and in sound as the foreboding intro before something sat between British Hardcore, Every Time I Die and Cancer Bats takes charge in the verses before a slight but effective contrasting chorus carries you forth.

However, if that wasn’t enough, the thick and oh-so classic Black Tusk-esque riffage that closes is nothing but satisfying before the metallic Hardcore Punk of ‘Walker Texas Danger’ makes its mark.

Something I cannot get enough at this stage is the seamless transition the band make between groove laden modern Hardcore and huge modern and melodic Punk chorus’. Bokassa don’t simply limit themselves to one monotonous path as many in the Stoner Rock vein often do, rather they shameless plug their grit and gratuitous riffs with the melodies they so desire and it works.

‘Genocidal Tendencies’ has an intro that leaves you on the edge of your seat before the whirling crescendo lead is matched with slow thudding Sludge Metal that reminds you that that band may have melody but they also firmly have the Metal.

Admittendly, I’d been enjoying the aforementioned Metal and slow begruding tempos but I was feeling somewhat incomplete. The pace I tasted earlier on the release had seeminly subsided and I missed it.

Alas, my being was made complete again when the visceral but melodic, thrilling but deadly serious Melodic Hardcore of ‘Five Finger Fuckhead’ accosted me. This sixth track boasts the best on the release musically and has a message we could well take heed from – ‘This is the end of everything when mediocrity is king’.

‘Here Goes Nothing’ is very much the epitome of this union of Stoner and Punk-Rock. The track boosts some of the best groove on the record, from the relentlessly tight percussion to the driven guitars.

The lyrical content at this stage is furthering the beliefs of a band that is both venting and raising awareness of the growing issues of Western society and you can’t fault them for that. – ‘This is the sound of a world that’s gone to hell – we all bow down til the day we die, we all bow down to the day we die’.

‘Retaliation’ bridges the gloom of Bokassa with British-esque Hardcore further but not without more nods to the American sector, with From Ashes Rise coming to mind. Bokassa’s axe-work is perhaps at its best again for this 1:12 of Punk frustration.

Divide & Conquer is an album, if I’m honest, I was expecting to criticise. It is album that in every sense of the word and its increased use in complimentary and cliche statements, really does go from strength to strength. It’s an album that closes with the comically ‘Immortal Space Pirate (The Stoner Anthem)’ where you are treated to all your Sludge and Stoner Metal needs for seven long minutes.

I’m actually recovering from a neck injury at the moment but the almost forced gyrations I am making via this album are well worth the discomfort.

Listen to this album, now.

Divide & Conquer is available via All Good Clean Records.

Find the band below:


Matthew Speer

Matt has 2.1 BA in History and is most likely somewhere in his twenties. He enjoys a wide range of music, but has a strong penchant for Punk-Rock. Originally he hails from the Isle Of Wight off the South Coast of England, UK and spends most of his time around England's South-West.

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