A four year hiatus followed Zombi’s last album, Escape Velocity, which their fans hold dear to their hearts. Their new album, Shape Shift is a heavier and darker piece of work than it’s predecessor that has the Pittsburgh space rock duo returning to their ‘live’ sounding roots. Recommended if you like the soundtracks of John Carpenter or bands like Goblin, Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai.
Vinyl Double LP £20.49 RR34551
Blood red coloured vinyl, gatefold 2LP on Relapse.
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CD £10.49 0781676731527
CD on Relapse.
So it's been four or five years since Zombi hooked up with everyone's favourite metal label to release "Escape Velocity", arguably the bands best work to date. Since then both Moore and Paterra have kept themselves busy with soundtrack work and various solo outings whilst also touring with kindred spirits/mentors Goblin! That must have been a match made in soundtrack heaven!
Recorded by the band at their own private studio in New York "Shape Shifter" is reassuringly Zombi-like. Much like previous outing "Escape Velocity", "Shape Shifter" is a full onslaught with drums making their presence absolutely known. Paterra still blazing that classic prog-horror drum vibe. Plenty of dynamics, loads of bell ride and china. You know the drill. I can picture his drum gloves now. Moore is fully on top of it too, shredding his synth like Wakeman on steroids. A master of every synth he surveys. On first listen i'd suggest "Shape Shifter" is a slightly simpler outing than its predecessor but that could also translate as more concise, less dense and maybe even more listener friendly with the duo fully embracing their influences as opposed to trying to resist or reinvent them altogether (which they arguably did with "Escape Velocity" so that's done right?).
There's a few pleasant surprises littered amongst the usual Zombi workouts, for example the ultra funky bass guitar that leads the momentum driven "Mission Creep". It's a perfect example of the groups precision approach to composition, something they've surely adopted from their predecessors Goblin. Also a big fan of the bass work on "Defraction Zone", a track that sees the group at their most comfortable in terms of marrying synth with live performance dynamics. There's also a couple of truly stand-out melodies with "Toroidal Vortices" immediately springing to mind. Beautiful synth work.
I don't have the review time to pile through both discs but from what I've heard so far, this is sounding amazing! Zombi have always been mint and the increased awareness of horror soundtracks and the resurgence in space rock will no doubt assist Zombi in finding a bunch of new fans.
Oh, and ZOMBI, if you read your own reviews (disclaimer; I'm not a real critic...i'm just saying stuff 'cause it's my job!), you might wanna search out Leeds band Monster Killed By Laser and Glasgow's Ubre Blanca. They'd make perfect tour buddies.
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