For their third album, Swiss nihilists Zatokrev have assimilated the collective aggression and atmospherics of the past two decades of psychedelic doom and post-rock to create a savage, bleak and beautiful collection of songs that casts no light and revels in the resultant gloom.
The six years that have passed since Zatokrev’s Bury the Ashes have served them well, enabling them to focus on and analyze their songs in order to create a cinematic ebb and flow that captivates as it enervates. The Bat, the Wheel and a Long Road to Nowhere is a study of slow-motion demolition that draws from the sprawling vistas of Melvins and Neurosis, the blunt, forceful riffage of Sleep and Electric Wizard and the throat shredding vocals of early Mastodon.
Only three of the nine songs are under six minutes in length, and unlike Pelican and Opeth, Zatokrev don’t rely on multiple rhythms shifts and prog metal progressions to keep their music moving. Instead, they gradually alter the volume and intensity of their songs, insert an abundance of meandering guitar leads and embellish their creations with ear-perking elements, including vocal chants (“Goddam Lights”) slide guitar (“9″), harrowing feedback drones (“Medium”) and even blast beats (“Feel the Fire pt 2″). Zatokrev’s third album may be a long, depressing road to nowhere but the ride is strangely satisfying.