Shakhtyor – Shakhtyor (Cyclone Empire/Metal Blade)Sunday, 11th August 2013
Originally released in 2012 but seeing the light of day thanks to the Cyclone Empire/Metal Blade co-op, Germany’s Shakhtyor (which is Russian for minor) play a rather Americanized style of instrumental monolithic metal. All signs point to Through Silver and Blood and its various hatchlings; those grumbly, not-very-impatient riffs all coalescing into what is more or less, a by-the-book take on a style many have done to death.
Four cuts here, all long (really, is that a surprise?), so there’s the prerequisite build-ups, distortion space, and feedback highlights in tow. The absence of vocals is a good thing, for there’s no doubt Shakhtyor would plant some bearded fella out front, have him bellow unintelligibly, and try to convince folks this is some sort of cerebral conceptual piece. One doesn’t get that from Shakhtyor, and while the dynamic sprawl of “Handschuhmann” is a keeper, the blasé and played out post-metal billow of “K.I.” is several leagues under the sea from where Isis and Pelican were in their respective primes.
Different conceptual angle aside (Russian minors don’t get very much face time), Shakhtyor have little appeal outside of the insular, and now staid post-metal instrumental field. But hey, thanks to the dearth of vocals, the thing didn’t turn into a Neuro-Isis grumblefest.