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Album Reviews : Okera – A Beautiful Dystopia

By on May 16, 2012

Melbourne’s Okera had already built up a decent sized following prior to the release of A Beautiful Dystopia. While the three track demo The Black Rain they released back in 2010 was certainly worth listening to, it was the live scene where they really shone. Thankfully, the band, and producer Mark Kelson of The Eternal, have managed to capture that same atmosphere on this recording, their debut full length.

All three of those demo tracks do appear here again, but the much improved recording has breathed new life into them, making them just as thrilling to listen to as the first time those original recordings hit the internet. In particular the eerie, mellow guitars on “The Black Rain” sound leagues better and the newly added keyboards, written and performed by Mark Kelson, add a whole new layer of depth to “Like Jewels In The Sky”. Despite being the shortest and probably fastest track, “I Hope” is also somehow the darkest, with Jayme Sexton’s vocals being at their most monstrous, and some clean guitars very reminiscent of early Opeth. And in contrast, the ten minute title track is surprisingly beautiful; one of those tracks that is better with your eyes closed.

Okera have taken the best parts of both ends of the whole melodic death/doom spectrum, forging an album that hits all of the right spots. It is overflowing with infectious yet melancholic melodies, and is continuously flowing from crushing riffs through to subtle clean sections and back again. And despite the whole album sounding somewhat bleak, it has a constant sense of hope throughout; it sounds exactly as the title would suggest.

Expect to see A Beautiful Dystopia on quite a few end-of-year lists. 8.5/10

Band: Okera
Album: A Beautiful Dystopia
Year: 2012
Genre: Melodic death/doom
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, Australia
http://okera.bandcamp.com/

Track list:
1. The Black Rain
2. I Hope
3. Futility
4. In Solitude
5. All That’s Lost
6. Like Jewels In The Sky
7. A Beautiful Dystopia

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.