Okovi

Artist: 
Zola Jesus
Non-Airable Tracks: 
NONE
Label: 
Sacred Bones
Album Art: 

 After becoming familiar with her music in the aftermath of her previous 2014 effort Taiga, I have been looking forward to new music from Zola Jesus for quite some time. If Bjork, Chelsea Wolfe, and Evanesence had a child together, the outcome would be Zola Jesus. Four years later, we are given the gift of her fifth studio album titled Okovi, a beautiful and surreal record that combines the industrial goth pop of her previous records, and gorgeous classical string arrangements with booming electronic beats. 

While Taiga was a more commercial attempt at bringing her into the mainstream, Okovi is a step back in regards to this. While there may be some experimental moments on the record, this is more of a realization of her strengths as an artist, while remaining one of her more accessible records to date. This is not a bad thing. The intro song "Doma" might throw people off, making the average listener believe this is going to be an especially spooky album, but that is not the case. Right afterwards, single "Exhumed" kicks in. It's a heavy, industrial electronic track with hard-hitting drums. Her voice is especially strong here, reminiscent of Amy Lee from Evanescence. On tracks such as "Soak" and "Ash to Bone", her vocals mesh extremely well with her signature synth sounds and electronic-induced beats, and are very pleasing to the ear. In the dead middle of the album comes two centerpiece tracks that are absolutely essential tracks to the record, which are " Witness" and "Siphon". The record slows down for a second with "Witness", showcasing her vocal abilities at her utmost best. This song reminded of the orchestral string arrangements and electronic beats that artists such as Bjork popularized on records such as Homogenic and Vulnicura. This is definitely one of the most powerful tracks I have heard all year. "Siphon" picks up the pace, and is definitely a track that would fare well on alternative radio stations across the globe. "Won't let you bleed out, can't let you bleed out", sings Zola Jesus right before the glorious return of the chorus of the song."Remains" is another standout track that honestly reminded me of J-Pop group Kalafina, who is also influenced by goth fashion and classical arrangements. It definitely sounds like it could have been composed by acclaimed anime soundtrack composer Yuki Kajiura. It's moments like these where Zola Jesus shines as an artist, proving that classical influenced music is in a dimension of it's own.

If you are a fan of any of the aforementioned artists listed above or female vocalists in general, definitely check out Okovi. This is one of the more cohesive albums to be released by a female artist this year thus far, and remains interesting and engaging throughout the course of the entire album. In other words, this is good shit! This is an artist that definitely needs more recognition. 

Sounds Like: 
Bjork
Sounds Like: 
Chelsea Wolfe
Sounds Like: 
Evanescence
Recommended Tracks: 
2. Exhumed - Industrial goth track that is especially hard-hitting with strong vocals.
5. Witness - Beautiful, string arrangements reminiscent of Bjork. Her best vocal performance on the record by far!
6. Siphon - This song should definitely be the lead single for the record. EPIC!
Name: 
Roy Santa Cruz
Date Reviewed: 
09/13/2017