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And You Shall Know Zombi's Velocity

Pittsburgh band chases freedom, flees mutant beings

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If there has been one common thread through the music of Pittsburgh's Zombi, it is the feeling of being chased. A recurring image conjured from repeat listens is asphalt flying beneath tires, one bandaged hand on the wheel, the other, bruised and hanging out the open window, grasping at rushing air. It's about charging forth, chasing freedom, being grungy from days on the road fleeing mutant beings. That wouldn't be too far off considering Zombi has built its unique instrumental sound around the classic horror flicks of the '70s--the best of George Romero and Dario Argento (Germany's Goblin being a primal source of inspiration and the architects for the soundtracks of those directors' most beloved films).

Escape Velocity doesn't deter from what Zombi does best--creating stunning, minimalist, all-instrumental audioscapes using heavy synths, warring drums and razor wire guitars. It's music to be relayed into the racing mind. But the most disappointing aspect of Escape Velocity (Relapse) is that the escape itself leaves much to be desired in length--clocking in at a lean 33 minutes, this is Zombi's shortest album to date, compared to 2009's equally excellent (and gloriously longer) Spirit Animal. The artwork done by Black Mountain's Jeremy Schmidt (reminiscent of the classic Hipgnosis covers designed for Pink Floyd) may well be worth the price of vinyl alone. But make no mistake. Escape Velocity's five tracks--"Escape Velocity," "Slow Oscillations," "Shrunken Heads," "De3" and "Time of Troubles"--are killer additions to the Zombi canon and well worth the $5 that you can get it for from iTunes.