The Bat, The Wheel and the Long Road to Nowhere
Based in Basel-Stadt, Switzerland, sludge-laden, blackened doom band Zatokrev have released a writhing, shattered slab of sound for their third full-length, The Bat, the Wheel and the Long Road to Nowhere. There is an Eastern European influence to the sound that extends beyond the vocals, giving this record a Byzantine edge that works to their advantage, sharpening their riffs and imbuing the darker, more melancholic passages with exotic smokiness. Opening track "Goddamn Lights" is nothing short of stunning, and the rest of the album's admittedly vast 76 minutes unfurl from there. There are passages that drag here and there, almost as if the songs have wandered off and become distracted by their winding, meditative structures, but this is forgivable for the moments when the storm gathers and a glorious doom crescendo rains down. The acidic vocals — thin and rasping — form an excellent counterpoint to the deep, baritone choral moments, as well as the ponderously thick, fat guitar tones. Strong, sinuous and strange as any tentacled beast, Zatokrev should be proud of this surprising and ambitious release.
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