(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist, RiffRelevant.com)
When it comes to atmospheric doom metal, Illinois’ MINSK are unquestionably one of the genre’s more profound entities.
As a long time fan of theirs, I am always thrilled when new music from them arrives. October 5th saw the Consouling Sounds / Czar Of Crickets Productions issuance of ‘Bigod‘, a split release with the Swiss doom exuding ZATOKREV.
Over the span of four tracks, two songs from each band, we receive a true gift of immense proportions and depth. ZATOKREV are the first up with “Salvatore” and “Silent Gods“, the first a slowly unfurling, ambient-packed emission that serves a somewhat introductory role to the lengthy follow-up.
“Silent Gods” is a masterful composition of psyche-doom greatness, one where tinges of temporal influences ranging from Pink Floyd and Alice Cooper to Voivod flicker through at times. Epic cascades of beautiful melancholy wash forth in abundance, as the song gradually builds in its intensity, eventually giving way to a wall of grandiose heaviness.
This pair of songs from ZATOKREV reveal the broad scope the band possesses, from their progressive doom power to the summary of their post-metal strength. Together, they are a rewarding introduction to the band, as well as the perfect compliment to the split’s other heavyweight entity.
The Americans, MINSK, go at things in reverse order as they serve up their lengthiest cut first, the 14+ minute “Invoke Revive“. They forego any subtlety right from the start, detonating an avalanche of malevolent commiseration at just eight seconds in. Spiraling tempests of tribal-like drums provide the spine for the song, as nonconformist discharges of guitar are riveted into place, all while furious vocals bemoan a harrowing tale via politically-tinted lyrics.
Mid-way through there is an obvious throttling down of the aggression, where a clear turn toward the trademark psychedelia MINSK is known for makes its presence known. From there, the lulling launch of “The Chalice And The Dagger” soon starts, a song that is the aesthetic opposite of its predecessor with its sedate nuances and melodic meandering.
Spoken samples add another dimension to the track, while fluid layers of aural expressions are taking place underneath. The declining section of the song slowly powers down, but the stark impact the track makes will resonate within you long after it ceases.
The unified path that MINSK and ZATOKREV take upon the ‘Bigod‘ split is a remarkable journey, to say the least. It is a traversing into dark territories where turns toward lysergic planes of harsh reality are explored and laid waste to. Take your own trip into that realm via the stream provided above.
On a related note, both bands – MINSK and ZATOKREV – are sharing more than an album release together. The pair will embark upon a European Tour in less than two weeks, one that includes album release shows and appearances at Into The Void Festival and Halloween DudeFest. Here’s the itinerary:
MINSK & ZATOKREV European Tour 2018:
Oct 18th: BE- Ghent, Charlatan (Album Release Party by Consouling Sounds)
Oct 19th: NL- Leuwaarden, Into The Void Festival
Oct 20th: DE- Oldenburg, MTS Records
Oct 21st: PL- Poznan, U Bazyla
Oct 22nd: PL- Krakow, TBA
Oct 23rd: CZ- Prague, Underdogs
Oct 24th: CRO- Zagreb, Mo?vara
Oct 25th: GR- Athens, Kyttaro (MINSK only)
Oct 26th: BG- Sofia, Mixtape 5
Oct 27th: SR- Belgrade, Elektropionir
Oct 28th: HUN- Budapest, Dürer Kert
Oct 29th: SK- Bratislava, Randal Club
Oct 30th: DE- Leipzig, Bandhaus
Oct 31rd: DE- Karlsruhe, Halloween Dudefest
Nov 01st: CH- Bulle, Ebullition
Nov 02nd: CH- Basel, Kaserne (Release Show by Czar Of Crickets)
Nov 3rd: CH- Winterthur, Gaswerk
Nov 17th: FR- Tyrant Fest, (ZATOKREV only)