Switzerland. The land of delicious cheese and beautiful scenery…and the occasional amazing metal band. For a nation that has historically stayed so peaceful and serene they sure can churn out the most depressive and violent of bands. In this instance it’s the newest album from Zatokrev, entitled The Bat, The Wheel and The Long Road to Nowhere. Zatokrev has actually been around for over a decade, at one point seeing an album released in North America by Earache. This newest opus is the band’s third full-length album, but first since 2007, so you are forgiven if this band fell off your metal radar at some point. Don’t let it happen again though because this album is absolutely essential listening.
The title may be one of the most fitting album titles, in an allegorical sense, in quite some time. The “bat” could certainly represent the band’s quick strike ability, leaving listeners a little dazed and maybe a little bloodied after an unsuspecting attack of black metal influenced fury. The “wheel” could easily represent the churning, constant battering the listener is given upon reaching the doom inspired post-hardcore bits. Lastly “the long road to nowhere” is a fitting homage to the bands ability to takes songs and stretch them out like a desolate road through a mountain pass. Segments of tracks such as “Medium” seem to stretch and twist, never showing you what’s lurking around the corner (hint: a lot of times it’s “the bat”). At times it’s a psych rock fan’s wettest of dreams. Few bands in the world today can take a varied jumble of influences such as those listed and make sense of it all. But Zatokrev do just that. From oppressive and colossal doom to blackened crust to Neurosis inspired psych interludes this band has taken a myriad of influences, sprinkled on top scathing, wretched vocals and turned out an album that should hopefully see them playing all the big fests come 2013.
Zatokrev are now signed to Candlelight here in the States and the new album is available for pre-order as of this writing. If you need extra motivation I suggest you head over to their website and check out the amazing video for the album opener “Goddamn Lights”. Even without the video it’s one absolute ripper of a track and honestly might wind up being one of the best metal songs you hear this year.
Normally in this space you are given a band or album from “back in the day” that has been lost to metal history. But today we shift gears to give you a band and an album from a more recent time that simply never got their comeuppance. New York’s Cattlepress were an amazing band who, sadly, only released one full length album – 1999’s Hordes To Abolish The Divine. This album, released on Hydra Head Records was hugely influential in the hardcore scene, but really they were way more of a doom/crust band. Check out more about this album over at 666 Days of Metal.com and make sure you check out the links to some of the most underrated metal that NYC has given us in the last 15 or so years.