An Isis clone from….Switzerland on an English record label. Yup, you read it right, and a pretty solid clone at that. Fledging UK label Codebreaker Records, somehow found this lot amid all the chocolate and cheese, and unearthed a pretty punishing, draining three-piece with their influences firmly emblazoned on their sleeve.

Centered around droning, mid paced crushing waves of weight and the occasional atmospheric flight of ambient fancy, Zatokrev’s 5 lengthy songs, while not on par quite on par with their Stateside peers or fellow European Isis fans, Cult of Luna, are still pretty solid in their homage. The guitars are slightly less battering, and the ambient moments aren’t quiet as lucid, but the overall recipe is still rather tasteful. The vocals of guitarist Frederyk Rotter is the only weak spot that jumps out at me, as there are high pitched and fairly strained, and only highlighted by the music’s powerful sound. As is the template for this style, Zatokrev’s repetition of undulating low end riffs is stymieing, claustrophobic and only relents for a brief clean vocal break or ambient intermission. Otherwise, the suitably oppressive builds are all cut from the very same pulsing, maritime mold as Oceanic, but get to the point quicker with three of the five songs around the 5 minute mark with the native tongue sang “Zato Krev” (10 minutes) and “Fourem” (14 minutes) being more strenuous sonic bouts.

While the album’s first three solid cuts (“Reveal”, “C Through”, “Alive”) all deliver compounding moments of heaviness and ebbing throes of power, the FX and clean vocal laced climax of the gargantuan “Fourem” renders a stark yet hypnotically crushing, contrasting Mindrot-like dirge of emotional, cathartic and physically draining music, though the last four minutes of FX is needless. Rotter’s tone (apart from the hymnal clean singing) takes a more menacing tone for the stifling end track. Not to take away from the rumbling opener “Reveal”, the hypnotic “C Through”, or the thunderous “Alive”, but “Fourem” comes across as one of the most effective deliveries of this style of music I’ve heard in some time. The self produced mix is solid, with all the appropriate textures and with a suitable depth for the genre that stands up to all the obvious peers.

Apparently good Swiss music is like Haley’s comet and only appears one or twice in a lifetime, and we already had Celtic Frost this millenia-we might be seeing history here. Pretty impressive.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 13th, 2004


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