Review – Zombi – Shape Shift

A total breakthrough.

From Pittsburgh they come, aptly named due to both their heritage in the birthplace of George A. Romero and their sonic kinship to 70’s Italian horror soundtrack geniuses (and their former tour mates) Goblin, dark wave duo Zombi’s sound may bring to mind shambling hordes of rotting attackers and other such 35mm monstrosities without heart or soul, but the music itself is anything but.

Four years since the release of their last LP, 2011’s “Escape Velocity” has done nothing to dull the edges of multi instrumentalists Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra. In their protracted absence their chosen vocation of sinister syths have come into vogue, thanks to the retro aping soundtracks of movies like You’re Next, The Guest and It Folows, games like Hotline Miami and even the old master himself, John Carpenter’s critically acclaimed “Lost Themes”. The difference maker with Zombi’s approach is the incorporation of live bass and drums, adding a tenuous, tactile heart and soul to the various electronics. Paterra and Moore like to refer to themselves as “Space Rock” and they earn the moniker of rock at its most primal, dangerous and unpredictable, be it the opening of Mission Creep sounding the evening news on a weeklong coke bender, Pillars of the Dawn’s distorted chants and driving beat or Metaverse’s pounding tension giving way to the most soaring, daresay uplifting vibes on the record, yet still with a hint of menace and foreboding. All unforgettable moments in a record with no shortage of them, a new favorite emerges from every listen.

People be might say this is nothing but soundtrack music, horror or Halloween music. To me it just sounds like awesome music, especially through headphones. I defy anyone to put this on and not immediately start smiling, nodding your head, and being transported on your own radical pulp adventure on a wave of eerie synths and thick, meaty basslines. If some unholy assailant wants to sneak up behind me and rip my throat out with their bare hand while I’m blissfully distracted, that would be a shame I guess, but at least I’ll die highly entertained.

Zombi’s “Shape Shift” is available now on Relapse Records and they’ll be at Boot & Saddle with fellow Relapse duo Pinkish Black on November 12th.



Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.

No Comments
Riot Nerd Newsletter