ALBUM REVIEW: Zatokrev ‘Silk Spiders Underwater…’

Zatokrev cover art

ZATOKREV
‘Silk Spiders Underwater…’
Candlelight Records
(Released: April 2015)
7/10

The fourth album from these Swiss sludge sorcerers reflects the band’s increasingly experimental musical and thematic outlook. ‘Silk Spiders Underwater…’ is fiercely uncommercial, but there is plenty to savour amongst its sprawling arrangements, monstrous riffs and gargantuan sound.

On the whole, the songs seem designed to be awkward and angular rather than being sculpted into easily-digested packages of aural perfection. The drawn-out, powerful riffs are tossed around upon a wild ocean of voice samples, swirling guitar effects, clattering drums and raging vocals. Bits of black metal and doom are scattered amongst the psychedelic sludge.

One of the best things about ‘Silk Spiders Underwater…’ is that it is totally unpredictable. Zatokrev manage to capture an untamed and explorative essence on this album unlike anything they have released previously, nodding to Neurosis, Celtic Frost, Godflesh, Gojira, but remaining distinctive.

There’s the moaning drawl of ‘Loom’, a song that edges from hushed apology to blur of noise; the deep, thundering sludge ballad of ‘Brick In The Sky’; the space-sludge misery of ‘Discoloration’. And they save the best till last: the epic, chugging doom of ‘They Stay In Mirrors’ is majestically simple by Zatokrev’s own standards and is the highlight of this fascinating hour-plus of music.

The album is a spider’s web of interwoven concepts, not delicate or pretty, but instead seeking beauty in life’s complexity and chaos. Zatokrev harness their darkest thoughts and ideas with creative openness and no lack of heaviness. There are a handful of uneventful passages dotted throughout ‘Silk Spiders Underwater…’ and it’s an album requiring both open-mindedness and patience. But Zatokrev’s latest release is hugely rewarding for those curious enough to try something a little different.

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