The Zombi Anthology by Zombi (Relapse Records)
Growing up in Pittsburgh, PA meant that you just had to know about George Romero and his Night of, Dawn of and Day of the Dead movies. A.E. Paterra and Steve Moore certainly were influenced by Italian band Goblin who scored Dawn of the Dead as well as worked closely with master of horror Dario Argento on his movies Profondo Rosso and Suspiria. The mix of moods and atmosphere along with a progressive rock style influenced by King Crimson and Genesis filtered through to the fertile minds of Paterra and Moore when they started Zombi. The band name Zombi is taken from the Italian title for Dawn of the Dead. At the turn of the century they set out to craft instrumental music from synths, drums and bass (Paterra plays drums and synths, Moore plays bass and synths).
The Zombi Anthology contains the Zombi demos from 2002 and the Twilight Sentinel EP from 2003. The first part is eight Sequences that are deceptive in that they sound rudimentary, as if you were hearing music played on a low budget horror or sci-fi movie from the 80’s, yet each short track features thoughtful arranging and care for crafting moods. Zombi’s sequences are short bits that y0u can imagine your own visual accompaniment. Some of the keyboard sounds of Sequence 1 would seem like something you’d hear in a Halloween-themed movie as the sun sets and the shadows lengthen, a shape sets it’s sights on an innocent young couple. Sequence 3 opens with a hacking electric guitar and hard-hitting synced drum attack, ominous synths roll in like a murderous fog. On Sequence 5 Paterra creates tension with a kick drum pulse and quickly tapped cymbals, Moore playing minor key synth patterns that burrow under your skin, then there’s blood on the dance floor as the percussion moves to a disco beat. Sequence 6 has bleeping high synths and a bubbling bass loop, joined by chill-inducing wind sounds, like a chase through a barren metropolis, the flesh-eating mutants close on your heels. Sequence 8 has the feel of impending dread, A militant snare announcing the robot-led apocalypse and there’s nothing you can do about it. The Alternate Version of Sequence 8 is more rocking, with Paterra’s live drum playing offering just a hint of hope to overcome the robots.
From the Twilight Sentinel EP Gemini Pt. 2 follows the Sequences. Synth patterns loop and swirl around a bass pulse like the sounds in the background of Pink Floyd’s On the Run. Twilight Sentinel features a beefy bass and drum groove, with morphing synths flying overhead creating a majestic feel, the first signs that Zombi’s music would work in a live setting, more space rock than soundtrack. DMC-12 has raw live drums and strong synth melodies, a theme to a witty hero overcoming death, destruction and getting the girl or guy, as the dust settles on a brand new day. Hidden at the end of DMC-12 is a spirited cover of Steely Dan’s Green Earring complete with vocals and lead guitar that had this Dan fan laughing in surprise and joy.
(by Bret Miller)