Zombi - Surface To Air

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Relapse Records
Catalog Number: RR-6545-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:32:00

Here's an odd little gem, one that'll have a lot of folks scratching their heads and a select few grooving in entranced rapture: Surface To Air, the second full-length release from Pittsburgh duo Zombi.

There's no question that Zombi - Steve Moore and A.E. Paterra - is unique. A group with the stones to adopt the bass/drums approach of late 70's-early 80's Rush and marry it to the analog synthesizer stylings of Goblin, Tangerine Dream, and UK (among others) to create hypnotic slices of film score-influenced progressive rock? Oh yeah, that's a singular vision about what's cool in music. And believe me, Surface To Air's retro/cinema score approach to prog is definitely cool.

Whether the Rush (sans Lifeson's guitars and Lee's vocals) connection is by design or accident doesn't really matter because, although Moore's bass and Paterra's drums virtually mirror those of Lee and Peart and familiar rhythms occasionally pop up, the edgy character of Surface To Air has more to do with Suspiria (not to mention Cosmic Furnace, "Popcorn," and John Carpenter's Halloween theme) than Moving Pictures.

But don't misunderstand me here; Zombi plays progressive rock, just as good as - but completely unlike - anything else currently out there. The difference is Zombi's approach: these guys are film score veterans whose primary influences, alongside Tangerine Dream, Yes, Dream Theater and Van Halen (!) are the great modern horror movie scores (again, Halloween and Suspiria, for example) and artists like Goblin. In that context, then, Surface To Air must be approached as a series of vignettes or images, each with its own uneasy message, designed to unsettle while entertaining the listener. Once this is understood, Surface To Air reveals itself to be a prog-rocker's dream ... or, in this case, "nightmare." "Challenger Deep" is a heady starter, a stately heavy rocker that up-ends an ascending chord progression and grandly descends into impenetrable darkness. "Legacy" flows along restlessly on a sturdy 9/8 hook (that highlights the fine ensemble interplay between bassist Moore and drummer Paterra) that conjures a seemingly interminable trip with a sudden, perilous end. The best is saved for last, of course: The hallucinatory epic "Night Rhythms" slams the scary pedal to the metal, grating every last nerve with its endless, frenetic rhythm and tapping into the collective fear of the unknown in the best Lovecraftian tradition - pure genius!

Frankly, I don't understand why Hollywood or whomever hasn't contacted these guys about scoring more horror films. Zombi really know their business and have hands-down proved it with Surface To Air. If you like your progressive rock edgy and thrilling, you will definitely get your fix here. Step to the edge and take the leap - check out Surface To Air.

Challenger Deep (4:28) / Digitalis (4:38) / Legacy (9:01) / Surface To Air (7:37) / Night Rhythms (18:34)

Steve Moore ? bass, synthesizers
A. E. Paterra ? drums, percussion, synthesizers

Zombi (2002)
Twilight Sentinel (2003)
Cosmos (2004)
The Zombi Anthology (2005)
Digitalis EP (2006)
Surface To Air (2006)

Genre: Various Genres

Origin US

Added: November 10th 2006
Reviewer: David Cisco
Artist website: www.zombi.us
Hits: 2390
Language: english


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