It’s perhaps inevitable that Zatokrev be compared to Neurosis. The sheer fucking weight of their riffs, for one, sounds like giants trying to beat mountains flat; there’s a tormented, tortured quality to their ire, and there are songwriting inflections that remind powerfully of Messrs Von Till and Kelly – the switch from barbaric heaviness to string lament at the end of Brick In The Sky, for instance.
But Zatokrev are very much their own band with their own personality rather than another outfit who have listened to Times Of Grace too often – and it’s why their latest outing is so fantastic.
For one, Zatokrev seem most interested in directing their ire outwards, with Bleeding Island and Swallow The Teeth sounding intent on destroying objects of frustration. This obvious fury also helps them to create a more malicious aura that, at times, drifts into Triptykon-style tormented rage, such as the opening of The Phantom.
But they also know how to rein this in to create a sense of brooding, fomenting hate being barely held in check – such as when Discoloration temporarily turns back the feedback – and ready to break out at the slightest provocation. That’s not quite the full story either, though, as there’s a particularly Swiss sense of the epic colouring Silk Spiders Underwater… that makes you think of rock-like patience, that harks of bitterness and spite chewed on for untold years, just ready to broil to the surface and flatten everything in its path.
For a record of such unspeakable, crushing power, there’s a level of subtlety of tone, flavour and arrangement that is belied by the thunderous sludgy riffs. The effect is to produce a record it will take you a few spins to get your head around (even Godflesh fans might spend most of the first listen feeling claustrophobic, oppressed by the vastness of the attack), but one that should keep you gripped until it makes sense through quality of ideas.
Just don’t expect to sleep that well if you listen to it last thing at night. Even once you’re done wanting to rip the walls down with your bare hands, the bleakness will haunt you. Outstanding vitriol./o:p