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Zatokrev : Silk Spiders Underwater

The latest Zatokrev full-length: near-faultless, and essential.

Ah, Switzerland, home of cuckoo clocks, chocolate, banking, neutrality and the international sporting Mafioso. Clichés aside, it is also home to a frankly disproportionate amount of top drawer bands. From black metal co-originators Celtic Frost to personal contemporary favourites such as Monkey3 (Psychedelic Instrumental Stoner), The Evpatoria Report (epic Post Rock) and my friends in shEver (Witch Doom). Zatokrev are another, hailing from Basel, on the French border – which may be a lovely town, but having stayed there for only one night, and then in a truly dilapidated squat, I could not say.

Let's get this out of the way at the start. Zatokrev sound like Neurosis. A lot. For me, this is no bad thing: apart from my wedding day, all the happiest moments of my life have come whilst standing in front of Messrs. Kelly, von Till, Edwardson, Roeder and Landis. There are of course a lot of bands, generally under the despised 'Post-Metal' tag that go for this sound, and far too many of them totally lack the hidden, indescribable x-factor that Neurosis have (personally, I find Zatokrev's self labelling as Psychedelic Apocalypse Metal to be much more apt). Of course, nobody can ever catch that elusive feel, but Zatokrev don't do a bad job at all.

Fans of Zatokrev's previous works will not be surprised – after all the band had already totally nailed the sound by their last album 'The Bat, The Wheel And A Long Road To Nowhere' (despite what its D-M.com reviewer said, I thought it was great!). They will certainly not be disappointed either, as 'Silk Spiders Underwater' is a little bit better in every area. The production was already far more polished than on previous records, and is now colossally tight. Every drum hit and guitar chug hits hard in all the right places and overall everything manages to sound both oppressive and wide open and clear, all at the same time.

There are some new elements too, some songs featuring cleaner vocals that are somewhat reminiscent of those heard on the more recent Mastodon offerings – especially on the second track, 'Bleeding Island'. Overall the songwriting seems a little more focused, with nothing ever staying past its welcome.

Personal favourite songs include 'Loom', which starts like a Psychedelic Metal take on 'Another Brick In The Wall Part 1', before developing into a riff-fest akin to some of the cuts from Isis' 'Mosquito Control EP' (about the only Isis record worth a damn IMHO – a fine example of a Neurosis-alike band who do NOT deliver the goods). Another great is the slow burning 'Brick in the Sky' that has that recent Neurosis (them again!) not quite clean, not quite dirty guitar sound evoking dark country feelings.

Of course, at the end of the day, it all comes down to whether you like this sort of thing. If you do, I honestly think it is one of the best 'Post-Metal' (ugh... I so hate that term) records I have heard in years. Sure, it owes a lot to a singular influence, and that is why I haven't given it the 'perfect' score, but other than that, it is pretty faultless. Essential for fans of the genre.

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Reviewer's rating: 9.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Runaway Soul
2. Bleeding Island
3. The Phantom
4. Loom
5. Brick In The Sky
6. Discoloration
7. Swallow The Teeth
8. They Stay In Mirrors

Duration : Approx. 64 minutes

Visit the Zatokrev bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-06-11 by Kris Clayton
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