Zombi: Escape Velocity

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Zombi: Escape Velocity
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Zombie: Escape Velocity
Space Rock
Relapse Records
May 10th, 2011
Release length: 33:06
Myspace
Website
Zombi is a band that many fans of Metal have mentioned at some point in their lives. This Space Rock group hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is a two-piece act that has put out a decent amount of material over the years. Much of their music has been rather varied throughout their career, though a general theme that often resembles something that would work well for b-films, which is what this band brings to their fans once more. Escape Velocity is the group’s fourth full-length recording, sporting five tracks total, and spanning a little more then thirty three minutes of atmospheric and Electronica-influenced Space Rock. Will this release become another album that the underground Metal world will be talking about, as well as another breath of fresh air for those so desperate for something a little more unique?

Escape Velocity becomes an appropriate name for this recording in the long run. All of the songs do feel like they could be placed somewhere in a b-movie, holding a strong focus on science fiction than anything else. The music is light and upbeat for the most part, never necessarily becoming intimidating or daunting. “Escape Velocity” starts the album off nicely with music that genuinely sounds like you’re trying to escape something thanks to the atmosphere to the electronic input of the song. However, this becomes a bit of a general concept throughout the recording, having some moments that sound like lighter eighties Industrial-influenced Rock songs, such as “Shrunken Heads”. Like “Escape Velocity”, this song matchess the environment, but also manages a darker, eerier tone that one would also associate with a low-budget Horror flick. The main interest is in the way the song manages to progress for the nearly eight and a half minutes that it carries on.

The songs on here typically aren’t that deep either. For the most part, there is a good Space Rock influence to the songs, helping to solidify that style with the recording instead of just leaving it to be referred to as a simple Electronica or Industrial product. The tracks typically follow a mid-pace, or something a little faster then that, though never anything too fast or slow, with exception to “Time of Troubles” which is a fairly slower track, more like a Space Rock ballad if you had to describe it. The music gives off a heavily digital feel, the kind one might associate with feelings of futuristic sounds, while remaining deeply rooted with electronic ideas in the music world from the eighties, as mentioned above. Of course, there are no vocals, leaving the music to carry the album itself, but sadly the music, while entertaining in it’s simpler form, isn’t the most engaging, not really maintaining that solid of a flow.

But, with that said, the simpler performance does still manage to keep things enjoyable thanks to the catchier compositions. “Shrunken Heads”, for example, is roughly eight minutes and twenty-two seconds long, and while much of the song sounds rather similar to other parts, the band manages to keep the beat simple and infectious, leading to various well-executed changes in the flow of the music. There is a slower section that no other track captures, but that’s due to the muffled ending, gradually slowing down as it goes on. And then you have “DE3” which, really, is perhaps the most powerful song off the release, utilizing the electronic inputs to create a song that genuinely sounds like an audio version of a science fiction flick. The main effects utilized set up various atmospheres through the recording as well, and again seem to take both a sleeker quality, but at times can have a somewhat darker feel to them. “DE3”, however, while a good song, does seem to go on for a little longer then it should have, and doesn’t quite offer as many changes to the music as “Escape Velocity” or “Shrunken Heads”, though offering the general increased mid-tempo speed you find on “Slow Oscillations”, which was the quickest song on the recording.

Given that this is considered a Space Rock group, one would imagine the music would be done well enough that you could sit back and just get lost in the music, letting it take you away like many acts of this style that have come before. Sadly, that’s not the case, and it’s a real deal breaker here. The only song that really manages to set a fantastic atmosphere that you can get completely wrapped up in is “Time of Troubles”, the closing song on Escape Velocity, as well as the slowest. The music is beautiful and depressing at the same time given the approach to it’s composition that the band took, and in a sense can almost put the listener into a trance with some of the Electronica approaches that are taken throughout the song to fully push the science fiction agenda of the music. While the other tracks are still good, this one really shines out thanks it’s having a little extra push to it’s music.

In the end, Escape Velocity isn’t the most astounding entry into the Space Rock style, but it’s still a good one nonetheless. The music here is well done and sets the proper tone, though the only one that truly captures the listener is “Time of Troubles”. There’s usually enough of a change in the music to keep the songs interesting to the listener, with exception to “DE3” which feels a little drawn out, and the science fiction approach works well to capture the imaginations of listeners who happen to greatly enjoy b-movies of that genre, particularly from the eighties. Though only five songs long, the longer track lengths really save the album at times and makes it a full-length that is worth checking out by those new to Zombi, and pleasing those who are already loyal fans to this group.

01. Escape Velocity – 7:10
02. Slow Oscillations – 2:51
03. Shrunken Heads – 8:22
04. DE3 – 9:02
05. Time of Trouples – 5:39
Overall Score: 8/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by Relapse Records.