Conatus - Zola Jesus
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Oct 20, 2011
    80
    The operatics of her voice make it the most intriguing instrument on the album but the new exploration of violins and cellos that feminize the massive drum fills make Conatus even more astounding.
  2. 80
    Conatus continues her roll with more astounding music that sounds better with each listen and during this day and age, what more could you ask for in an album?
  3. Oct 25, 2011
    65
    The balance of Conatus comes off a bit too formulaic and familiar; after a while, you realize it's sort of one-trick, with Danilova pairing her--admittedly stunning-voice and platitude-heavy lyrics with stomping electro beats.
  4. Oct 12, 2011
    88
    Danilova has crafted perhaps the year's most emphatically romantic record--defiant, loyal, indomitable.
  5. Oct 7, 2011
    80
    Like her prior work, the songs are thematically dark and diffuse, but the dancey impulses on Vessel and Seekir signal headier paths ahead.
  6. Oct 7, 2011
    60
    Stridulum was just a warm-up for Conatus, giving Zola Jesus the opportunity to gain confidence in traditional song forms so that she could burst out with a compositionally and emotionally varied set next time out.
  7. Oct 5, 2011
    70
    Despite its uneven spark, the best bits sting like cigarette ash in the cornea.
  8. Oct 5, 2011
    70
    Towards the end of the album, tracks tend to blend into each other. Jesus definitely continues to push what she's good at, but this doesn't make for much variety.
  9. Oct 5, 2011
    70
    Ultimately Conatus makes for a very sensuous, luxurious forty minutes, but it's minor flaws like these that prevent it from hitting quite as hard as it could have done, and from being the unqualified success that Stridulum II was.
  10. Oct 5, 2011
    77
    Though some may miss the rough and raw approach of her last two EPs, it's refreshing and exciting to hear music that relies on bone-hard essence rather than gauzy trimmings to create an aura of mystery.
  11. Oct 5, 2011
    80
    It's enchanting, exhausting, cathartic, borderline traumatic, and curiously beautiful to its dying breath.
  12. Oct 4, 2011
    80
    Otherworldly, weird and downright gorgeous. Siouxsie oughta be proud.
  13. The album shows Danilova making a conscious and admirable effort to try take another step in the right direction and for the most part it's hard to fault her.
  14. Oct 4, 2011
    83
    Slashed by shards and shadows, Conatus is Zola Jesus' best album to date.
  15. Oct 4, 2011
    60
    The second Zola Jesus disc could have spelunked into Brontë Sisters silliness, but its churning, creepy urgency proves hard to dismiss.
  16. Oct 4, 2011
    60
    Conatus is moody mermaid music.
  17. 88
    Toward the end of this thoroughly bewitching album, Danilova even dispenses with the security-blanket gloom, singing a stark piano ballad not far removed from Adele's "Someone Like You."
  18. Oct 3, 2011
    80
    Danilova takes the peaks higher than ever and manages to avoid both the pitfalls of monotony and excessive experimentation.
  19. Oct 3, 2011
    80
    While Conatus isn't as direct as Stridulum, it's still some of her most satisfying work.
  20. Oct 3, 2011
    80
    Conatus is Zola Jesus' most gratifying offering so far.
  21. 80
    Rather than radically reinventing the sound from Danilova's second full length, 2010's Stridulum II, Conatus comes across as a more fully-realized Zola Jesus production.
  22. Sep 28, 2011
    80
    More bare structurally, musically and emotionally than its predecessor, yet by the same token, fuller and more alive, it is an amazing work that showcases a phenomenal talent and a unique voice.
  23. Sep 28, 2011
    70
    Haunting until its final breath is drawn, Conatus pretty much does what it says on the packaging, its creator's endeavours in no way wasted on what is a worthy addition to a body of work of uncompromising consistency.
  24. Danilova's commanding tones evoking nameless terrors over wonderful doom-laden synth-rock.
  25. Sep 27, 2011
    80
    Conatus seldom reaches the same level of experimentation as Danilova's collaborations with the likes of LA Vampires. But what she proffers instead is far tastier: a deft fine-tuning of the slick and stylish formula of Stridilum II, with the slightly schlockier moments of melodrama eschewed for something more sophisticated.
  26. Sep 27, 2011
    70
    This is a strong record, there's no doubting that--but it still feels like the best is yet to come from Danilova.
  27. Sep 27, 2011
    60
    Danilova's juggernaut vocals can feel relentless, but considering Zola Jesus is a deliberately poised and arty affair, a little over-reaching melodrama is hardly a surprise.
  28. Sep 27, 2011
    60
    It's all very accomplished, but lacking in variety.
  29. Sep 27, 2011
    80
    While her sound is still dominated by typical darkwave elements--doomy synths and the pishy patter of minimal drum machines--the rest is unexpectedly warm, illuminated by her indomitable voice.
  30. Sep 27, 2011
    80
    Stepping out of the shadows suits her after all.
  31. 70
    Mostly, though, Conatus gives you a more polished version of exactly what you'd want from a Zola Jesus album.
  32. Nov 11, 2011
    80
    Conatus hits like a miniature hurricane in a box. [#81, p. 60]
  33. Nov 9, 2011
    80
    All told, this is a mind-blowing and powerfully emotional album, however you (or she) want to label it. [Nov. 2011, p. 143]
  34. Nov 3, 2011
    70
    Conatus displays a more somber, graceful side of Zola Jesus. Those qualities are typically present in her music, but this album lacks any of those gripping, triumphant moments. [Oct 2011, p.103]
  35. Oct 3, 2011
    80
    It works best when her vocal is minimally adorned. [Oct 2011, p.105]
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Oct 4, 2011
    8
    The idea of replacing industrial in favour of icy beats seemed to me like a wrong idea. The first listen of Conatus, the third album by NikaThe idea of replacing industrial in favour of icy beats seemed to me like a wrong idea. The first listen of Conatus, the third album by Nika Roza Danilova aka Zola Jesus, has corroborated my assumption. Thank God I always listen to a record twice before writing a review! Conatus is stunning, a conscious step ahead in building Danilovaâ Full Review »