I noticed this band name written in small letters on the poster for Metallica’s Worldwired Tour in Bucharest so naturally, I was curious of the opening act for one of Metal’s giants. Funnily enough, the answer came quickly with a simple Google search as Lars Ulrich himself had declared on the radio that Bokassa is his “new favorite band”. So really, what else was there to do than hit play on their latest album, Crimson Riders, and see what it’s all about.
Hailing from Trondheim, Norway, Bokassa pronounced themselves the Kings of Stonercore, a fusion of punk rock/hardcore with stoner and sludge elements.
Not leaving me time to think too much about their shtick, the introductory track, Brologue, hit me with how much they fit their slot, alongside Ghost and Metallica. A little bit of both really, a steady and menacing track that prepares you for what’s to come.
On Charmed & Extremely Treacherous, they weren’t kidding about the punk rock vibe. It’s an energetic track with a sing-along chorus that every punk at heart can’t help but echo. It reminds me of the missions in Sega’s Crazy Taxi, when I was swerving into traffic blasting The Offspring on the speakers.
Vultures is a lighter track with pop-ish undertones but still cool with its winding riffs. There is a surprise element however, and that is a fucking saxophone. Who knew the sax would charm the metal world like it did with the rest of us in Careless Whisper?
Back to headbanging energy Mouthbreathers Inc. The vocals could be a little more polished – it’s a feeling you get overall, really, after you’ve finished the album – but it’s headed in the right direction. Few and small dings that can be easily repaired in time.
Wrath is Love is a track that reminds me of my emo years rocking out to Billy Talent and Rise Against. However, there is a Slayer-eque riff entwined somewhere in there, in the entire track.
Crimson Riders is a cool intermission that showcases their ability to go hard if they want to while the next track, Captain Cold One, falls directly into pure humor: a tattoo with P!nk lyrics, crop tops, Nickelodeon and several other true G attributes.
I can sincerely say that I dig the pun in Blunt Force Karma. I’d name my band Blunt Force Karma, it’s cool as fuck. However, apart from being a fun track there’s nothing really special or unheard of on this album.
My first thoughts on Immortal Space Pirate 2: The Last Shred : yes, yes, yes! A beginning, a middle and an end fit for the title track. I am a little biased here since I am a sucker for stories anyhow, no matter how odd the creature – Mustakrakish from Metalocalypse? My jam.
But on a serious note, a track that shifts and turns to present a concept in its entirety is always a win in my book.
Ulrich also mentioned to Kerrang! that it’s going to be “super cool” to introduce Bokassa to a wider audience with their Worldwired tour and now I can believe the hype. The show is already lining up to be an epic blast so you can’t miss such an experience. See you there!
Album Highlights: Charmed & Extremely Treacherous, Immortal Space Pirate 2: The Last Shred
Find more about Bokassa on: Facebook
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