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Zatokrev : Bigod (Split with Minsk)


Dynamic and diverse, but sharing a common centre, this split release offers an excellent, impactful listening experience.



It is always interesting when two bands converge to make a split EP. Inevitably, a shade of each seems to rub off on the output of the other in the process. 'Bigod' certainly inspires that piqued interest. Though only containing four songs, this is a massive collection as a whole nonetheless.

Starting things off, Minsk offers up a track entitled 'Invoke Revive'. Hailing from the Chicago area the band got their start in 2002, a year in which many budding bands were seemingly swimming in the primordial goo of creativity. What is perhaps most endearing about Minsk is the blatant honesty with which they compose and perform their music. There are moments where the band is reminiscent of others, contemporaries and forebearers alike; however, the parts are assembled in such a way as to create an original whole. This first track is truly a proper beginning as it mirrors the feeling of being on a journey. Whether physical, spiritual, or meditative is unique to the listener, but one is most definitely led on an amazing path regardless. It is all about flow - peaks and valleys. The first half of the song is relentlessly heavy showcasing pummeling toms and choking guitar tone. The power is in the hands of the guitarist as palm-muted parts placed properly offer startlingly heavy accents, the sonic equivalent of surprisingly experiencing a head-on collision of sorts. Shades of 'Remission'-era Mastodon (the era in which the band truly seemed to be at their experimental peak) appear especially in the way the toms seem to be constantly moving as well as in the intensity of the vocals. The vocals are not guttural or growling but rather retain a commanding sense as they authoritatively direct the proceedings. Halfway through, though, things turn toward the psychedelic. With the proper lighting, scenery, and either stimulants or depressants according to taste, one can truly tune the world out and join in on this exotic trip. In the way the intensity continues to build and build toward the end with multiple vocal parts and massive guitar slides intermittent with swollen chords, one cannot help but be reminded of Neurosis's masterpiece, 'A Sun That Never Sets'. This is not said to imply that the band is unoriginal, but rather meant to be an exceedingly huge compliment.

The following track, 'Silent Gods', is the first appearance by Zatokrev. Their name is Czech for "blood for this". This Swiss band formed in the same year as Minsk and undoubtedly has a more blatantly-oriented Doom sound. The song opens with a soft, quiet tranquility. The lead guitar's reverb-filled single notes in the background evoke classic moments of Anathema's heyday. When things get heavy, the myriad nuances that contribute to the band's original core sound become more apparent. The use of layering and delay contribute to create the massively gargantuan heavy sound that ensues. While the lead guitar plays an eerie, slightly dissonant passage with delay, the rhythm guitar and the rest of the band engage in devastatingly crushing syncopated chords enhanced by drums that sound like Bill Ward on PCP behind the kit. At the 5:38 mark, the entire band converges performing the established rhythm. The vocals go from agonizing, lacerating lines to cleanly-sung parts that resonate hugely thanks to a heaping amount of reverb. Beneath it all, the bass tone is rich in bombastic distortion aptly filling in the sonic spaces left vacant by the guitar frequencies. The heaviness fades out and there is a return to the somber side around the 8:50 mark. The key word for this highly engrossing track is dynamic - even spiritually so.

While many folks choose to pass on EPs and splits in favor of full-lengths, this is a case where to do so would be to the detriment of one's collection. With two different approaches, these bands seem to be seeking the same spiritual center. It is truly an impactful experience to listen to and is thus highly recommended.


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Reviewer's rating: 8/10

Information

Tracklist :
1. Minsk: Invoke Revive
2. Zatokrev: Silent Gods
3. Zatokrev: Salvatore
4. Minsk: The Chalice and the Dagger

Visit the Minsk bandpage.

Duration : Approx. 39 minutes

Visit the Zatokrev bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-06-12 by Chris Hawkins
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