Metal Review: Zatokrev – The Bat, the Wheel and a Long Road to Nowhere (2012)

Zatokrev – The Bat, the Wheel and a Long Road to Nowhere (2012)I feel left out now. I had not heard anything from Zatokrev before getting the promo from Candlelight Records and now I feel like I have been left out for a while. With the release of The Bat, the Wheel and a Long Road to Nowhere (quite the mouthful), Switzerland’s doom/sludge metal band Zatokrev is coming at us with their third release. The self-dubbed sludge-apocalypse band brings us their latest effort with over an hour of ambient doom and sludge featuring lyrics sung in English, Czech, and Slovak tongues.

With two albums under their belt, Zatokrev’s latest release is a mix of ambient tone and intense fuzz all bottled up and ready to be unleashed like a molotov cocktail ready to explode into flames. With solid vocals and some extremely intense melodic lead guitar work, Zatokrev exudes maturity well beyond their years. The opening track, Goddam Lights, is an epic tale that tells a lot about the band in just over nine minutes. The lead guitar work is reminiscent of licks that we would expect from the almighty David Gilmour of Pink Floyd fame, and from me, that is extremely high praise.

From track to track, The Bat, the Wheel and a Long Road to Nowhere throws continuous riffs at us, whether melodic or straight-up heavy. The shrilling, raspy vocals are offer diversity to the tracks as they almost feel out of place, but really do belong. The vocals pierce your ear drums at just the right times. It seems like, when each song gets past an ambient or melodic moment, and we are just beginning to digest what we just heard, the vocals shed a new light into the track and catch you completely off guard.

Some of the breakdowns in these tracks get you daydreaming, but just when you begin to envision the scenery that the ambient sections are describing, the song turns on you and hits you from another angle. It happens over and over so that you never get comfortable. I have not felt this feeling from a recent release in a while. The music never stays in the safe zone for very long.

With never a dull moment and plenty of unexpected surprises, Zatokrev hits all of the right chords on The Bat, the Wheel and a Long Road to Nowhere. I just hope that they get their due with this release because it needs to be heard. I would listen to this release just for the guitar work itself, but the album is so much more than just that.

The Bat, the Wheel and a Long Road to Nowhere Track Listing:
1. Goddam Lights
2. 9
3. Rodeo With Snakes
4. Medium
5. The Wheel
6. Feel The Fire pt.1
7. Feel The Fire pt.2
8. The Bat
9. Angels Of Cross