Okwaho Releases their Second Album

On their second album, “The Usurper Regime,” Okwaho (meaning “wolf” in the language of the Mohegan tribe) let darkness seep in. Five years after their self-funded full-length debut album, the trio of George (guitar, vocals), Bob (bass), and Andreas (drums) return with an album that evolves the rough, abrasive, handmade physical form of their first album’s doom/sludge sound.

In the interim, the band released their first music video for the track “God of Gold” and also participated in the compilations “Athens Underground vol. I,” by the eponymous music collective that accompanied the April ’19 issue of Metal Hammer magazine, as well as “Metal Solid@rity,” by the eponymous anti-fascist and anti-sexist initiative/assembly, of which they are a core member.

Additionally, during the period of 2018-2019, Okwaho composed original music for the theatrical performance “Parenticide Club” based on a text by Ambrose Bierce, in which they appeared live throughout the show in February and March of 2019.

When the time came for the creation of “The Usurper Regime”, Okwaho internalized the negation of the pandemic and socio-political events. They opened a new chapter where their politicized lyrics meet blackened sludge in a fusion that, as demonstrated by the album’s opening track “The Burden Of Thousand Murders”, the band listens to the modern and sharp aspect of extreme sound, and adapts it to its own style.

In six compositions, with a total duration of 39 minutes, the trio takes compositional risks that look (also) towards sharp and voluminous post-metal. A characteristic example and centerpiece of the album is the two-part “The Mermaid”, which focuses on the refugee issue and the tragedy of people attempting to cross a sea – a liquid grave, exploring the band’s sonic palette, including an exceptional recitation that does not sacrifice cohesion.

“The Usurper Regime” is an extreme metal album that, with its alternations in speeds and intensities, but not in emotional states, has its eye on the target. However, where it really shows its true self is in long compositions like “Safe In Enslavement”. Okwaho structures their songs in a way that the succession of musical themes intensifies the pressure and accumulates anxiety that seeks release, taking their time as is evident from the doom riffs and dynamic drumming. The guitar leads are crucially placed throughout the album and function rejuvenatingly without distorting the desert landscape, and so each song harmoniously complements the framework of decay that the band construct deliberately.

With their second album, Okwaho attempts to separate themselves from the general stagnancy often associated with sludge metal, and to look beyond the aesthetics and atmosphere. Despite its lyrical themes and dark atmosphere, “The Usurper Regime” does not rely on despair, but attempts to transform anger, reflecting the timeless spirit of extreme music.

It is a holistic approach that finds Okwaho upgraded on all levels, inviting a rebellion against the tyranny of normalcy with compositions that, removed from superficial showmanship,
create a hellish canvas of everyday life through modern post/black/doom/sludge metal.



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