Up until today Zhakiah was a completely blank page to me, which is hardly a huge surprise as it has only been around shortly. The seeds of its existence date back to 2018 when Jani Stefanovic, a street smart, experienced multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and graphic designer, started shaping this solo project which he finished in the next year. Being responsible for every single note of Zhakiah’s music allowed him to deploy his favorite weapon of choice, which is melodic death metal inspired by the Scandinavian variety of this particular genre. Though Swedish-based Jani has an impressive list of releases he has had a part in, among which is work of DivineFire, Miseration and Am I Blood, the upcoming album Where the Light Will Thread, the subject of this review, is Zhakiah’s first official feat of arms. Even though it contains nine songs its length stays well shy of 30 minutes, so I certainly wouldn’t call it a full-length. Let’s agree to calling it an extended EP. Anyway, none of that actually matters, let’s get on to the pinnacle of this release, the tunes.
The honors of opening the ball, after the ominous sounding intro Gethsemane that expresses the most famous story inked to the infamous garden perfectly, falls to Spirit’s Perfection. The biblical link by the way, is to be found throughout this release. Anyway, it’s a song that ends with an old-fashioned fadeout but starts full-throttle. The guitars thread the outline of the fast, drum based rhythm and Jani’s primarily deep grunt adds even more depth to the whole. In the next song, Dominium Aeternum (eternal power) Jani introduces his clean vocals which would fit greatly in a power metal outfit and which also trigger my curiosity concerning what else he is capable of vocal-wise. Perhaps for a later release… And speaking of power metal, Dominium Aeternum has more subtle hints towards the genre, in the form of the guitar solo, which is a nice touch in this varied song. Title song Where the Light Will Thread on the other hand is a pounding death metal song without any frills, an instant hit while playing live I’m sure. This pounding song is succeeded by a, I assume strategically placed, soothing instrumental part that calms the senses for a bit. From there on out it’s all death metal, four great songs in total, with the pumped up The Crown as the pinnacle in my opinion.
So in conclusion it’s safe to say the main course of this release is without a doubt melodic death metal, with the addition of a few subtle surprises and variations, like the Middle-Eastern vibe and the dance-borrowed sound effect in The Ancient of Days. Other than that it’s a pretty straight-forward melodic death metal album with the mandatory tight guitar riffs, drums-on-steroids, the buzzing bass and growling vocals, which is exactly what I’m looking for in a death metal band’s release. The execution is great, making this no-nonsense death metal album well worth your time. Jani clearly knows what he is doing and he’s good at it. If he can keep this up, and I honestly don’t see why he should not, it could spell a great future for Zhakiah.