Bury The Ashes
posted on 6/2007 By:
Even though the current wave of doomy, atmospheric post-metal is often rightly ridiculed as ‘the new metalcore,’ it’s still a damn enjoyable style if properly executed. Take this sophomore effort from Switzerland’s Zatokrev. Like its predecessor, Bury The Ashes is pretty strapped for creativity; it’s essentially a sludgier and more abusive take on Times Of Grace-era Neurosis with very little room given over to originality. Fortunately, what Zatokrev loses in individuality they make up for with execution, as this disc is laden with both heinously heavy and surprisingly catchy moments throughout.
I get the idea that the average post-metal imitation act draws most of their inspiration from ISIS, who are easily the most popular act in the movement. Zatokrev, however, have no patience for the airy contemplation that such bands espouse. Their aesthetic has far more in common with the dark shamanism of Neurosis, and while they certainly can’t match that band’s searing emotional catharsis or pervasive sense of cosmic menace, they manage to summon up much of Neurosis’s mega-apocalyptic heaviness. This disc is fucking weighty, almost oppressively so, without relying on frustrating funeral-doom slowdowns or excessive downtuning. The secret is in the grooves; these guys crank out one thunderous beatdown after another with little concern for control or the build-and-climax dynamics most commonly associated with their genre.
Bury the Ashes ultimately breaks down into two halves. The first four tracks on the album are six-to-eight minute affairs that show off Zatokrev’s propensity for punishing, memorable doom. Guitarist Frederyk Rotter and bassist Marco Grementieri provide a predictable Von Till/Kelly-styled vocal tagteam that remains potent despite its exceedingly familiar nature, and their pained howls punctuate the dense chugs of “Starlight Leader” and “Void” to great effect. “Godless” and the title track see the band employ both Silvio Spadino’s seething tom work and some subtle, desperate melody amidst the mountainous riffage. Though these first songs are all excellent, Zatokrev don’t fare as well on Bury the Ashes’s second half. The final three songs are all ten-minute-plus in running time and feature some attempts at more traditional post-metal layering and pensive structures. Unfortunately, despite some promising starts (“Trial” and “The Fire”), these later songs have a tendency to collapse under their own weight, and all three are too protracted for their own good.
Though Zatokrev have clearly mastered the comparatively brief doom crusher, the more epic mode of songwriting continues to elude them. Frankly, I’m okay with this. Bury The Ashes features many a moment of pure, artless intensity, and that’s enough to keep me coming back to it. A very appropriate thick-but-natural production is just icing on the cake. Not an essential album, but certainly recommended to fans of devastating, modernist doom everywhere.
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