ZatokrevIn their 13 years of existence, Swiss four-piece Zatokrev have formulated their own unique hybrid of gargantuan death-sludge. Fourth album ‘Silk Spiders Underwater…’ is the first instalment of a two-part concept series and is eight tracks of crushing guitar distortion, rumbling bass and ritualistic percussion. Zatokrev have the blueprint for monolithic yet aggressive sounding music down to a fine art and execute it with both discipline and artistic flair.

‘Silk Spiders…’ is much more organic sounding than the usual sludge culprits – they offer everything a typical sludge/doom band does; monster riffs, throat searing vocals, colossal song lengths and flurries of fast paced brutality. However, these guys also emanate a distinctive vibe of calm too – every song feels as though the structure has been pored over painstakingly and the clinical feel of the production conjures up likenesses to Neurosis and C R O W N.

Stand out track ‘Bleeding Island’ is a grinding, mid-paced affair that’s packing tension by the bucket-load. The atmosphere is thick with ominous foreboding and the guitars lend an extra eerie quality to the music. There’s a certain clarity to every track, that’s easily attributed to skilful mastering of the record itself. While this style of music is usually better suited to having a swampy, gritty quality of production, the pristine polish up of this opus adds just a tinge of industrial which actually works in its favour.

This is a fairly long record and doesn’t actually give off a vibe that would suggest it needs a follow up, so it will be interesting to see what direction the guys decide to take for part two and how they’ll link it to this record. For now, however, we have eight solid tracks of well crafted death inspired sludge metal and that’s more than enough to pre-occupy any curiosity.

(7.5/10 Angela Davey)