Skip to content

Okular Biography

The musical style

The band draws inspiration equally from traditional death metal as well as more recent offerings, including elements not commonly utilized within the death metal genre. Fans of Death, Gojira and At The Gates should be drawn to Okular’s balanced blend of intensity and melody with a progressive edge.

Okular’s “musical DNA” is influenced by the bands that Okular founder Andreas Aubert listened to during his first years of composing with the Guitar Pro software. Having a prior background in thrash metal and groove metal as well as traditional metal, the following three strains to which he was later exposed are his most important sources of inspiration and influence:

  • Death metal, especially Morbid Angel, Death and early Decapitated
  • The Gothenburg scene of melodic death metal, especially At The Gates and early In Flames
  • Gojira’s sense of playfulness and experimentation with rhythms, textures and ambience

The lineup and the compositional method

With members based in and around Oslo, Norway, progressive melodic death metal act Okular is led by composer, lyricist and backing vocalist Andreas Aubert. He started playing guitar in 1996. Over the years he gained an intuitive understanding of the guitar as an instrument and played in a few bands, but lacked the technical skills to manifest the full range of his ideas. When introduced to the computer program Guitar Pro in 2004, he finally found a suitable channel for his musical creativity.

All of Okular’s music is notated in Guitar Pro. Sometimes Andreas comes up with the main ideas on the guitar first, then writes it into the program. Other times he writes a full song directly into the program without first arriving at the riffs and melodies via the guitar. When composing, Andreas often reaches what in psychology is called a flow state where the sense of time and space dissolves, and one is absorbed into the activity and can be creative without effort. He typically spends only two hours on writing the guitars for a song, being driven by intuition and passion moreso than technical analysis. The intellect is also involved in the process, but taking a back seat. Although composing music is meaningful in itself, Andreas felt a growing need for the music to be professionally recorded so that the songs could come to their full expression.

In 2009 he gathered a lineup to record the debut album Probiotic. The core of Okular’s recording lineup has from the beginning been comprised of Marius Skarsem Pedersen (guitars, harsh and melodic vocals) and Bjørn Tore Erlandsen (drums), who have been featured on all albums. Bassists and co-vocalists have varied, but for 2024’s Regenerate, the band has found a stable lineup with the addition of bassist Eyvind W. Axelsen and co-vocalist Fredrik William Aas (harsh vocals).

The reception

The 2011 debut album Probiotic became album of the month in Norway’s Scream Magazine and received the grading 9.5/10 on four webzines. The same year, Okular was regarded as “one of the most important new Norwegian bands” by the radio program Pyro, run by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

The 2013 sophomore effort Sexforce also received critical acclaim, with Lords of Metal stating “for those who love interesting death metal it is an absolute recommendation”, Arctic Metal stating “Another impressing effort from one of the most exciting bands Norway has to offer. Sounds refreshingly different to more or less anything out there” and The Monolith stating “Would’ve been an immediate classic had the music industry been an environment basing success on sheer musical quality.”

Click here for a comprehensive list of reviews.

Live playing

With the addition of live members Jan Pinslund (guitars) and Simen Folkestad (bass), the band made its first and so far only live performance at Trondheim Metal Fest in 2013, with Gojira and Hatebreed being the headlining acts. With Okular primarily being a studio project, it’s uncertain whether live playing will be prioritized again in the future.

2014–2021 splitup and 2022 reformation

In 2014, Okular mainman Andreas Aubert found it impossible to continue the project, due to feeling less passionate about metal music and having a need to prioritize other interests and activities. As the years passed by, he did however from time to time feel that Okular would eventually return. In 2021 the timing was right. Having explored other types of music and committed himself to various areas of study (especially in the fields of psychology, personal growth, health and nutrition) for several years, he was now able to reform Okular with a sense of renewed spark and passion. In January 2022, Marius Skarsem Pedersen (guitars, harsh and melodic vocals) and Bjørn Tore Erlandsen (drums), agreed to record more music with Okular. Eyvind W. Axelsen (bass) and Fredrik William Aas (harsh vocals, former live member) were soon confirmed as new members, completing the lineup.

2024 – New album release + EP in progress

Okular’s third album Regenerate is set for a worldwide digital release on June 7th of 2024. With founder Andreas Aubert still being the main songwriter, the album sees a higher degree of collaboration than in the past, taking the songs to new heights. Most notably, guitarist Marius Skarsem Pedersen provided several adjustments and additional arrangements, while drummer Bjørn Tore Erlandsen had complete freedom regarding the drum arrangements.

The band is, as of March 2024, midway in completing a 5-song EP with guest guitarist Fredrik Schjerve (Enrapture, Bizarrekult) recording guitars for all five tracks as a guest musician. This EP is intended for an early or mid-2025 release.

Other musicians and associations

The band has already from the first album been associated with prominent musicians from the Norwegian metal scene.

Øystein G. Brun, the guitarist, founder and primary songwriter for Norwegian progressive post-black metal band Borknagar, has spoken highly of Okular’s debut Probiotic, calling it a mandatory listen and describing the band as a death metal parallel to his own band. In the months leading up to its release, he provided Okular founder Andreas Aubert with valuable input on mastering, artwork and other areas related to its completion. He also gave input on the mix for Sexforce and Regenerate.

The debut album Probiotic featured Yngve Bolt Christiansen as co-vocalist. The following year he was confirmed as the new vocalist for Norwegian death metal band Blood Red Throne, a position he held until 2023.

For the sophomore effort Sexforce, the Swedish vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Vintersorg (vocalist of Borknagar from 2002–2017) provided guest vocals on the track The Greatest Offender. Vintersorg had this to say about The Greatest Offender and his contribution to it: "The song has several faces and an adventurous approach which I simply love. From the calm opening with the clean atmosphere towards a more aggressive realm and then ending up in the same calmness. In between all this you’ll find these epic parts that was just meant for my way of thinking when it comes to vocals."

Pål Mathisen (Susperia, Chrome Divison feat. Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir) featured as co-vocalist on 7 out of 13 tracks on Sexforce, recording the harshest vocals he had done for years, as well as providing various facets of the melodic and clean vocals for which he is most known.

Sexforce also featured contributions by pianist and multi-instrumentalist Andrè Aaslie (Gromth, Funeral, Images at Twilight, Profane Burial, Vitam Aeternam, Woodwindz, Omnia Moritur, Abyssic), providing piano and orchestration on the tracks To Ride the Bells of Truth, Rest in Chaos and Ride the Waves of Emotion. The piano work was based on Aubert’s sketches, with great improvements made by Aaslie, while the orchestration was entirely Aaslie’s own. On 2024's Regenerate, he provides piano on the title track, and it is planned that he may contribute occasionally to the band also in the future.

Manoon Ploypradab, a classically trained guitar teacher from Thailand, has recorded several songs for Okular founder Andreas during Andreas' visits to Thailand in the time period 2009–2013. Two of those songs ended up as instrumentals on Probiotic, while a third song ended up on Sexforce with harsh and melodic vocals added by Okular's Marius Skarsem Pedersen.