Two bands from two continents, two very different worlds and histories, but in many ways they have occupied parallel universes. Both have forged their own paths forward for over fifteen years. Both have released four albums. Both seek transcendence and deep places in their explorations, uncompromising in their vision, both reveling in their beautiful noise.
On BIGOD, Minsk (USA) and Zatokrev (CH/EU) deliver a joint effort, a deliberative and collaborative intention to reflect their innermost expressions, another search for deeper meaning in the here and now through beautiful psychedelic melancholy paired with the heaviest walls of sound and creative destructiveness. Their shared passion and aesthetics gave rise to the idea for the split album BIGOD. The work creates a new spirit, one who unites two dark souls and joins two paths into one. Here, both bands contribute two epic songs, both receiving vocal support from the other.
To complete the work, Parisian artist, Max Loriot, has created an extraordinary visual realization of BIGOD’s theme, a compelling and interpretive take on the allegorical story of Elijah’s fiery chariot. Two horses with their own will, a burning chariot with no horseman, the spirit fire of creation.
Furthermore Dead Pig Entertainment just announced an exclusive BIGOD European Tour for autumn.
Minsk/Zatokrev BIGOD European Tour
Oct 18th: BE-Ghent, Charlatan (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, Močvara
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, 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)
For more than fifteen years, Minsk have been cultivating their unique brand of sonic exploration. The approach is simultaneously eclectic, psychedelic, and heavy. Their creations take the listener on journeys to the depths of despair and to the pinnacles of triumph, through themes of suffering and survival, the exploration of consciousness, and esoteric motifs.
Minsk released its fourth LP, The Crash & The Draw, in 2015 on Relapse Records to widespread critical acclaim, with publications such as Decibel, Kerrang!, Stereogum, and MetalSucks all lauding it as the group’s finest work yet. Since the release, Minsk has been touring the US and Europe in support of the record alongside the likes of Cult of Luna, Sub Rosa, Floor, Bloodiest, and Kowloon Walled City, with festival appearances at Psycho Las Vegas (NV), Roadburn (NL), Doom Over Leipzig (DE), Desertfest (UK), Amplifest (PT), Midnite Communion (CA), Scorched Tundra (IL), and Mutants of the Monster (AK).
Critics consistently refer to the group as one of the early bands to help popularize a sound that would eventually come to be called “post-metal,” while also noting their unique character which is replete with massive percussion, progressive song structures, and layered vocals that swing broadly from the melodic to the brutal. Frequent comparisons to genre-creators and notable influences, Neurosis, are not without merit; However, most agree that no one really sounds like Minsk. The Obelisk calls them “an entity unto themselves, comparable only to themselves.”
Founded in 2002 in the unassuming locale of Peoria, Illinois, the band first garnered attention with its debut LP, Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead nor Alive, released on At A Loss Recordings in 2005. The release and subsequent touring piqued the interest of Relapse Records, who picked up the band and released the next three records, beginning with their sophomore effort, The Ritual Fires of Abandonment, in 2007, and With Echoes in the Movement of Stone in 2009. In 2010, Minsk contributed three Hawkwind covers for Neurot Recordings’ Hawkwind Triad tribute release, a split that also featured Steve Von Till’s Harvestman and US Christmas.
Throughout this early period, the band toured the US and Europe consistently, sharing tours with Baroness, Wolves in the Throne Room, Rwake, Trouble, Unearthly Trance, A Storm of Light, Zoroaster, Coliseum, and others, as well as festival appearances at Roadburn (NL), Damnation Fest (UK), Asymmetry Fest (PL), and multiple appearances at Emissions from the Monolith (OH), and South by Southwest (TX).
BIGOD, a split release also featuring Zatokrev (CH), will mark Minsk’s first release since The Crash & The Draw. The album is slated for an October 2018 release (via Consouling Sounds) and will be supported by an October/November European tour featuring both bands.
Back in 2002 when Basel’s musical horizon was rather like a wasteland, Zatokrev was founded to rough up the local music scene.
Although their first self-titled album was only intended for demo purposes the band immediately got offered various deals and finally released the record in 2004/2005 on Code:Breaker, Earache and Division Records to overwhelming critical reception all over Europe and America. Their unique mixture of slow, heavy rock and extreme metal styles brought them a creative and unpredictable reputation early on.
In 2007 the follow-up „Bury The Ashes” was released through the Finnish label Firebox Records continuing their efforts of exploring the dark, monolithic soundscapes they conjured on their debut.
They started touring extensively building up a fanbase across Europe, while also forging strong bonds with some of the scene’s bigger names resulting in a deal with UK’s cult label Candlelight Records in 2012. Candlelight would go on to release their next two albums „The Bat, The Wheel And A Long Road To Nowhere” (2012) and „Silk Spiders Underwater…” (2015).
Zatokrev have claimed stages on countless tours and festivals all over Europe while gaining the status of an intense live act. The numerous line-up changes throughout the years did not harm the creative output of the band; they have now reached a state of experimentation which expands their horizon even more – not only on a musical level but also on a visual and thematic level.
The highly metaphorical lyrics and artworks aim to express personal/spiritual struggle as well as growth in different ways; both negative and positive energies are part of what the band builds up and tears down. Their musical repertoire is no less than impressive, reaching from the typical monolithic sound and slow groove to moments of psychedelia, ambient and industrial, over to black & death metal, leaving no stone unturned.
In 2004 Metal Hammer UK used the term „avant-garde” to describe what Zatokrev do. Fifteen years later this term is more pertinent than ever before.
Growing up in Basel myself, Zatokrev was one of the first ever bands I saw playing live and since then I, together with many other local musicians, share an unshakable respect for them, not only for being a source of outstanding art for all these years, but furthermore for being true friends and upright supporters of the local art scene.
C.S.R (Schammasch) – February 2018