Zola Jesus - Okovi
Critic Score
Based on 22 reviews
2017 Ratings: #155 / 716
User Score
Based on 186 ratings
2017 Ratings: #119
September 8, 2017 / Release Date
LP / Format
Sacred Bones / Label
Art Pop, Darkwave / Genres
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Your Review


A.V. Club

Zola’s latest, Okovi, is more homecoming than course correction.

Pretty Much Amazing

Perhaps one of the most macabre albums of the year, Okovi shines in its ability to beautifully illustrate a disturbing but ultimately shared human experience.

The production is absolutely masterful. The conviction is assured; the weightiest of subjects: that of 'life' and 'death' are tackled and shackled by Zola expertly.

The abandonment of her Top 40 aspirations has yielded some of her most powerful music since that Stridulum EP and its sternum-cracking single “Night.”

Consequence of Sound

The vocal dexterity and lyrical aid on Okovi positions Zola Jesus as a must-listen for anyone struggling to figure out how to tread life’s waters.


It seamlessly combines elements of vocal pop, ambient metal, dance music and classical, goth and industrial — genres that wouldn’t normally be heard in one song. Over that unlikely fusion Danilova sets loose her operatic voice, creating a wrenching mix of constraint and fury.

The Skinny

Dripping in catharsis that seems to pour straight from Danilova’s soul, Okovi is rarely an easy listen, even when it’s at its most accessible. But it’s also profound, and Zola Jesus’ most emotionally stirring record to date.

Loud and Quiet
It is a beautiful record: soulful and deep.
After five albums, Zola Jesus's balancing act remains compelling.
Under The Radar

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.

The Line of Best Fit
The resulting album of driving, gothic electronica places her in a trajectory of artists who translate trauma into sound.

A deeply comforting album, Okovi is some of Zola Jesus' purest-sounding, most profound music in years.

The sixth album from Nika Roza Danilova under her Zola Jesus moniker finds her not just perfecting her sound (a sound that to be honest, wasn’t far from perfect anyway), but making a massive step towards understanding this thing that we call life.
The Observer

An album to light the way through the darkest hours.


Like many other independent artists who dabble in veiled pop modes, Danilova has only gotten more confident and focused over time, enough that her fifth full-length studio album, Okovi, is at once one of her most sonically intense and thematically inspirational releases. That is what makes it both so intriguing and so disappointing that she would focus the album on a subject so conventional and yet so well-suited to her talents.

Drowned in Sound

Okovi won’t topple Stridulum II as the most essential Zola Jesus record, but it’s another excellent record that once again showcases a unique and powerful voice.

Slant Magazine

Not only does Okovi reprise Danilova's familiar formula of pained, soaring vocals set to ghostly atmospherics, it literally returned the artist to her roots, as she retreated to the woodlands of her Wisconsin hometown to work on the album.

God Is in the TV
A not-always- easy, but rewarding effort in dealing with choppy seas and heavy water.
Northern Transmissions

On her latest record Zola Jesus is a master of her big production but this power ultimately needs the right direction. While stirring at its best moments, Nicole Hummel does fall into some familiar territory and occasionally gets trapped in her own production for far too long.

Heavy with feeling throughout, it makes for a record that’s often a tough listen. But for cathartically allowing herself to tackle life’s most difficult subjects, you’ve got to applaud her.
The Needle Drop
Zola Jesus' latest effort may be grand in presentation, but it's a little light on substance and quality songwriting.
"We'd hate to see you give into those cold, dark nights inside your head" Zola sings on Siphon, this song is written to a Danilova's friend who tried to commit suicide several times. Those personal issues are the main theme of her new album "Okovi" which she talks about her darkest times and daylife tragedies trying to find some wisdom and clarity about this. Her best and most obscure work to date, Zola gives us a beautiful and consistent piece of art.

Favs: Exhumed, Soak, ... read more
Great, Fabulous, this record is amazing, very dark very chilly very fuckin superb, gonna be in my top list for this year, i can listen to this all year. <3
Zola Jesus' fifth album is a stunning and painful celebration of life. Where Taiga aimed for pop perfection (and ultimately fell a bit short), Okovi returns to the project's roots (a dark, goth-pop sound) while still mixing in some big pop and electronic moments (Exhumed, Remains). This feels like the culmination of Zola Jesus' sound, strengthened by the recurring themes of loss, self-harm, and the will to live in the face of adversity and personal struggle.

Favorite tracks: Witness, Veka, ... read more
-Album Thoughts:
Zola's latest, is a beautiful rendition of occult dark pop that takes a trip through a beautifully twisted and haunting journey of sorrow and pain that can be heard throughout the album. A great release a worthwhile listen.

-Track Ratings:

Doma: 72/100

Exhumed: 91/100

Soak: 82/100

Ash to Bone: 52/100

Witness: 68/100

Siphon: 80/100

Veka: 65/100

Wiseblood: 83/100

Remains: 70/100

Half Life: 80/100
Just a brutal album in the best way possible. I think Zola hit the sweet spot by combining that crazy ass voice with the intense, but still danceable bass. The album can feel gigantic and personal at the same time, producing a cavern of space for you to wallow in. Love the album art too!!!
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Track List

  1. Doma
  2. Exhumed
  3. Soak
  4. Ash to Bone
  5. Witness
  6. Siphon
  7. Veka
  8. Wiseblood
  9. NMO
  10. Remains
  11. Half Life
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Added on: June 6, 2017