Zola Jesus

Okovi

Sacred Bones

Sep 07, 2017 Issue #61 - Grizzly Bear Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Life hasn't been so easy for Nika Rosa Danilova lately. Since releasing 2014's ambitiousif flawedgoth-pop statement Taiga, the Zola Jesus vanguard has faced dark times head on, admitting to "fighting a haze so thick I wasn't sure I'd find my way to the other side."

But from tragedy can often come triumph, which is exactly what album number six Okovi is. A personal and compelling account of Danilova's world during her blackest hours, it's a record that combines the symphonic, all sweeping chasms of her early output with her more recent balladic pursuits.

The frenetic industrial trample of lead single "Exhumed" sets the tone with a baying storm of strings crackling amidst a wild percussive beat. The stunning "Siphon" continues the thunderous line, building as a piston surge of drum that erupts cacophonously while Danilova's cries out "Won't let you bleed out/Can't let you bleed out."

Such a tumultuous emotional backdrop means Okovi is no easy canter. Yet the cinematic scoring and textured arrangements fashion something so absorbing it's almost impossible to walk away from. "Witness," in particular, is agonizingly forceful; a raw, simple ballad that feels like the sound of purity and pungency colliding headlong.

Some positive slithers do exist amongst the anguish. "Remains" is a bed of twinkling strings that charge into an ebullient electro pop melee; while the twisting, writhing construct of "Veka" feels primal and transcendental as Danilova comes close to losing control of her porcelain tones.

Ultimately, Danilova uses Okovi to disclose the trauma and pain that has encircled her. At times it feels like confession, but whatever the purpose it's a deeply emotive and enthralling journey. It's one we are all the better for being part of. (www.zolajesus.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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