[4th March 2013]
01. House Full of Colours
02. Not Separate
04. The Greatest Offender
05. Ride the Waves of Emotion
06. Rest in Chaos
07. The King of Life
08. Exposing the Good Citizens
09. Feast Upon the Illusory
10. Birth Through Loss
11. To Ring the Bells of Truth
12. Politically Incorrect Experiences
13. Educated for Enslavement
Not even remotely accurate…apart from the ‘bearded’ bit perhaps, and even that’s only half true…
Nope, Okular are a Norwegian progressive death metal outfit and Sexforce is their second full-length since forming in 2010 – and this shit is something special; an even madder continuation of the band’s 2011 debut, Probiotic (only slightly less a weird-ass title for a metal record). The Baboon had the immense pleasure of reviewing that back then and it ended up in his list of nine personal favorite albums of that year. The question is, does Sexforce stack up?
Before anything else, Sexforce isn’t quite the same animal. Sure, it’s still a chunky-piece of metal; still progressive; still of a certain harshness and still incredibly creative – but it also seems to have increased on craziness, like someone was on a cocktail of mind-opening exotic drugs. It feels as if Sexforce’s songs are designed, rather than written, by a nutty professor – from the ground up, from a blank sheet, and by someone who never got to experience the formulaic and structured ways in which most of today’s music is put together.
Sexforce is thirteen songs and over an hour of music sprung from the mind of composer and backing vocals-provider Andreas Aubert (no beard). He’s joined by Marius Skarsem Pedersen (beard, guitars and vocals), Bjørn Tore Erlandsen (beard, drums) and Martin Berger Enerstvedt (no beard, bass). These dudes jointly pose a whirlwind of musical tightness that will convince even the most demanding metal fan. Seriously, this shit’s tight, a’ight?!
The record is a richness of styles and influences without any two songs ever being the same. For instance, “Ride the Waves of Emotion” ends with over half a minute of psycho 18th century piano, the atmosphere of which reoccurs in follow-up song “Rest in Chaos“, which on balance is actually one of the most melodic and understandable tracks on the record.
Skipping ahead another track to “The King of Life“, one finds an acoustic guitar-only piece with dual growling vocals; it’s a bizarre mix of Spanish-style guitaring, metal and something that’s as poppy as
Shitme Beers Britney Spears, and at the same time strangely familiar and nothing unlike I’ve ever heard.
And then there’s the third to last song, “To Ring the Bells of Truth“, an initially instrumental piece with piano in the lead that races across painting an epic picture. Midway into the song the piano is reinforced by drums, bass and (semi-)clean vocals that once again form something incredibly refreshing.
That summed-up, the remainder of Sexforce is distinctly metal, though still as varied as tits on girls. The band moves from accessibly melodic to grindingly harsh. Tasting the pallet, one can come across elements of Swedeath, melodeath and thrash primarily, but also hints of hardcore may be identified. It’s exemplary of what makes the album such an incredibly intelligent and at the same time eluding piece of work.
Evaluating the total, Sexforce is definitely not a friendly record. It takes a helluvalotta time to get through the core of the album and even two weeks of on-and-off listening did not cut it up into bite-sized pieces for yours truly. Combine this key characteristic of consumption challenge and replay value with flawless musical execution and we’ve got something that would’ve been an immediate classic had the music industry been an environment basing success on sheer musical quality.