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Zombi - 2020 [Relapse Records - 2020]

After a five year hiatus, Zombi rises from the grave with their latest album, 2020. Continuing to grow and expand into new territory, the duo show how far they've come in the two decades since they first started. Mixing synthwave and heavy riffs, 2020 expands Moore and Paterra's oeuvre ever further and shows exactly why this talented duo has such longevity.

Once again coming on Relapse, Zombi's latest is an instrumental feast for the senses, with synths and drums creating a smorgasbord of sound. Steve Moore adds guitars and bass to the luscious luncheon and adds a dynamic fullness that encapsulates Zombi's twenty year progression. Nonsensical food metaphors aside, 2020 is a lot different than Zombi's previous releases. The pounding, slick, neon, driving anthem opener, "Breakthrough & Conquer" is as close to an anthem as the duo has come, and the guitar solo hearkens back to the guitar heroics of the early 90's. This upbeat beginning sets a misleadingly bright tone, but sets a proper expectation for the excellent songs to follow. "XYZT" "Fifth Point of the Penta," and "Thoughtforms" continue to expand the scope and breadth of 2020 through airy, far reaching tones. These tracks have a similar base to previous Zombi material, but take their years of knowledge, practice, and skill, and crank up the dials. Throwing some heavy, grimy riffage into the mix, "Earthscraper," "No Damage," and "Family Man" show that there is still some dirt hanging from the newly risen body and sludgy, sluggish pacing reinforce this heavy approach. Mixing the worlds of brightness and darkness, Zombi is totally at home, and each style of track complements the other. In a sense, it's like Moore and Paterra are personified through each style and 2020 is their sonic self-portrait.

Always upping the ante, Zombi returns with their newest notch on the bedpost, 2020. Showcasing their ever increasing talents and songwriting, this latest album furthers their reach and thickens their mix. While a track or two may get a little familiar sounding, the amount of new directions taken on this album will please any Zombi fan, and get them to spin this one a few times in a row. Now let's just hope the next one comes sooner than five years from now.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Paul Casey
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