• Zombi 2020 (Relapse Records) Album Review



    Released by: Relapse Records
    Released on: July 17th, 2020.
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    Pennsylvania’s instrumental powerhouse duo ZOMBI return after five years with an excellent new album that combines their classic sound with a couple of new twists.

    Drummer A.E. Paterra and multi-instrumentalist Steve Moore (who handles synthesizers, guitar and bass) get down to business pretty quickly with opener “Breakthrough & Conquer” which is a classic example of their core sound which is a mix of Italian prog/soundtrack gods GOBLIN and metalized synth rock. The key component of ZOMBI’s sound is the serious rock underpinnings. These guys may experiment with prog and instrumental synthesizer music but their baseline is doomy hard rock. This is most evident in the pacing of well over half of the album’s songs. The fastest track is the aforementioned album opener with the rest of the record going for a more weighty doom crawl. The best example of this ethos is on “No Damage” which could easily pass for an instrumental BLACK SABBATH backing track if that storied band has utilized prominent keyboards. “Earthscraper” is probably the heaviest track on the album despite featuring keyboards more prominently. There are other times where the record recalls some of film director John Carpenter’s soundtrack work.

    While ZOMBI are undoubtedly heavier than almost every progressive rock band of the more traditional stripe, they can certainly play with light and shade. “XYZT” is the album’s most adventurous track because it combines some fairground synthesizer with dreamier passages that recall the likes of PINK FLOYD. The band’s Relapse bio mentions BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, and there is definitely a whiff of that bands esoteric melodicism in the mix. The entire soundscape of this record is pretty immersive and tends to conjure up images of mountain ranges and galloping animals. Or Italian horror films minted in the 1970s.

    This album should please the bands already well-established fanbase but I would also recommend newcomers to check it out. Anyone with an ear for finely crafted instrumental hard rock should thoroughly enjoy this album. The level of musicianship is top notch and the whole album stands up well to repeated listenings.

    Highly recommended for those so musically inclined.