Synth warriors Zombi enter into nighttime, add strange vibes on steaming new EP ‘Liquid Crystal’

Photo by Matt Dayak

When I was a kid, I used to get seriously freaked out at night, which obviously doesn’t make me special or anything since that happens to so many people. But it instilled with me this weird sense that sticks with me to this day, an unsettling chill that works its way through me that I can’t explain, even having no fear of the night anymore or any apprehensions.

Music very often aggravated those old, glowing nerves, and it’s something I can’t explain. I just know it when I hear it. I really heard it with Zombi’s last album “2020,” and that carries over into that record’s companion EP “Liquid Crystal,” a five-track collection that carries over that vibe but doesn’t regurgitate it. The way the duo of Steve Moore and A.E. Paterra unleash that strangeness on this collection also is something that isn’t easy to put into words, at least as far as vibe is concerned. Basically if you were on the ride for “2020,” expect the sink even deeper into that universe on this collection.  

“Mangler” gets things started with the synth creeping in and the drums cracking as it feels like trouble is brewing. Everything feels eerie and strange with dark clouds hovering and your nerves on edge. The pace picks up, the sci-fi strangeness floods, and the playing fades into time. “Chant” feels light and airy with the bass plodding, and a mid-80s Rush feel moving in. The playing is dreamy and chilling as the pace numbs you, and cool melody snakes through the center point. The title track has keys lurching and the shadows thickening as warm air begins to pump into your face. The track has a total nighttime feel to it, cooling your flesh as guitar work slithers down your spine, leaving your blood standing. “Turning Points” runs a healthy 11:18, and guitars churn, drums echo, and the pace crawls ominously. The dreams begin to increase and get more intense, the cymbals crash, and the playing is deliberate and channeled, pushing on deeper into your mind. It feels like a beast is stalking you as your fight-or-flight tendencies kick in, the strangeness swims, and the droning keys head off into the clouds. “Black Forest” is the closer, bringing hovering synth and guitar licks that sound inspired by steamy old crime shows. All that gets under your skin as the drums hit hard, progressive vibes spit, and everything is swallowed in fog.

Zombi’s progression continues to get darker and more sinister, evidenced by what you heard on this great EP “Liquid Crystal.” The music can be equally mentally stimulating and strangely creepy as the band lurks around, looking for anything the make your nerve endings stand on end. Zombi have made a career out of proving their strange charisma is as effective telling stories musically as any words ever could be.

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