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Zombi - Spirit Animal CD (album) cover




Progressive Electronic

3.48 | 32 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars What a silly name for such a strong band, yet another unpolished gemstone hidden in the back alleys of rust belt America. The metallic edge to their music is entirely appropriate for a group forged in the erstwhile steel town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, specializing in throwback synth-rock played with plenty of muscle and an oddly anachronistic sound, thanks to all those old-school analog keyboards.

They certainly make a lot of racket for a simple duo. Steve Moore handles the bass guitar and synthesizers, but please: no Geddy Lee comparisons. There's a certain stylistic similarity to RUSH, but the music of Zombi is entirely instrumental, setting an example I sometimes wish their Canadian counterparts would follow more often. A.E. Panterra plays all the percussion, and it's his energetic drumming that separates the group from much of their Progressive Electronic competition, giving the album an aggressive momentum from start to finish.

Together they pack quite a combined punch, with no shortage of power but sadly lacking any atmospherics or subtlety. Even the softer moments of the album, like the Mellotron- driven middle section of the 14-plus minute title track, carries an undercurrent of barely suppressed testosterone.

Elsewhere it's all big cinematic gestures and heavy sequencer patterns, fortunately without a Space Rock cliché in sight, even in a track titled "Cosmic Powers". The companion piece "Earthly Powers" has something resembling the dissonance of KING CRIMSON (filtered, once again, through the power chords of RUSH), and the tireless Panterra approaches spontaneous combustion in the kinetic "Spirit Warrior".

But it's in the climactic "Through Time" where the pair really makes a statement. After a brief and almost melodic (but still very loud) introduction, the track settles into a menacing, blockbuster horror movie soundtrack for the balance of its 17-plus minutes. Other reviewers here apparently couldn't find the patience for it, but the driving intensity is hypnotic over such a long stretch, and the odd meter keeps the music from ever getting too stale. I like how it piles on the noise in a merciless onslaught of sound, like a cybernetic army gone berserk. And the fully three-minute long fadeout indicates the duo might be influenced by techno-trance outfits like The Orb as much as by guitar-age Electro-Prog from the 1970's (the sonic guerrilla warriors of HELDON circa "Stand By" would be another obvious touchstone).

Sharp as it is, the music of Zombi can hardly be considered cutting edge. But I applaud the band's energy and zeal, and their dedication to what these days is a sadly unfashionable style of music.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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