All Out Of Dreams

rating icon 6.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. The Ending Starts Today
02. Garden of Heathen
03. Straight Edgelord
04. All Out Of Dreams
05. Bradford Death Squadron
06. Let's Storm The Capitol
07. Everyone Fails In The End
08. Gung Ho
09. No More Good Days
10. Crush (All Heretics)

Still best known as one of the few contemporary bands that METALLICA's Lars Ulrich has publicly enthused about, BOKASSA have yet to confirm whether such an endorsement was a blessing or a curse. The Norwegians' last full-length was released with their most famous fan's patronage still relatively fresh in the metal hive mind, but five years on, world domination still seems a distant prospect. "All Out Of Dreams" is no kind of comeback, of course, but it does feel like an intentional consolidation of the aspects of BOKASSA's sound that have proved most effective thus far. Full of big, ballsy hard rock songs with a metal edge, some stoner rock swagger and occasional bursts of hardcore punk belligerence, this is a solid step up from 2019's much-hyped "Crimson Riders".

At its best, "All Out Of Dreams" offers a great example of how traditional rock can be souped-up and sharpened, with big tunes and bigger riffs as permanent design features. BOKASSA have managed to avoid becoming polished or sanitized, and the best songs here are exuberant and punchy in equal measure. "The Ending Starts Today" is a straight-ahead opener with little in the way of surprises, but it does encapsulate the band's enhanced muscularity and ongoing knack for catchy riffs and bullish hooks. "Garden Of Heathens" stands out: with its faster pace and prosaic, big rock riffing, it nails the basics with such aplomb that cynicism is not an option. Weirdly, it sounds a little like German punk legends DIE TOTEN HOSEN, but with a guitar tone that slays in a very timely, speaker-levelling manner. "Straight Edgelord" has been touched by the hand of mid-paced thrash, and is more convincing as a result, almost in spite of its obvious nods to arena grunge and big, dumb alt-rock. The title track repeats the trick, but with some neat flashes of sonic trickery that skillfully break up the relentless chugging. Again, the chorus is fairly standard stuff, but adds a little melodic elegance to proceedings.

Far better is the excellently titled "Bradford Death Squadron", which really leans into the whole METALLICA connection; with the album's biggest, gnarliest riffs and vocalist Jørn Kaarstad's irresistible refrain of "Off with their fucking heads," all adding to a sense of momentousness. The equally well-titled "Let's Storm The Capitol" reeks of late '80s RAMONES (if we are being generous) or a less agile FOO FIGHTERS (if we are not),  but singularly fails to deliver the ferocious payoff that a song with such a title arguably deserves. Bonus points are awarded for some sweet cowbell and an unexpected, mid-song psychedelic faze-out.

More satisfying is the snotty aggro of "Everyone Fails In The End", wherein BOKASSA clatter away at a breathless pace for 46 seconds and then stop, apparently content to squander the song's initial impact. In contrast, "Gung Ho" is a languorous rocker with deft dynamics, a blazing guitar solo from Kaarstad and more cowbell; while "No More Good Days" gives its creator's punk rock urges room to maneuver, within a high-octane riot of metal tropes, both traditional and black, and a sense of chaotic intensity that is largely absent elsewhere. "Crush (All Heretics)" is a slow-burning, doom-driven chug-fest, with Kaarstad switching from hoarse bellow to insidious, downbeat crooning. Laudably atypical but undeniably heavy, it is the best thing here by some distance.

Taken a whole, "All Out Of Dreams" adds just enough to BOKASSA's musical armory to ensure that they are still gaining momentum and power. Whether or not this spirited body of work has what it takes to affect a major breakthrough is another matter, but for fans of rowdy, straightforward hard rock, this will do for now.

Author: Dom Lawson
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).