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Zombie Zombie – Rituels D’un Nouveau Monde

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OK, where do I begin? Well, for starters you are getting a different Zombie Zombie than was showcased on 2007’s A Land For Renegades and 2010’s …[post=zombie-zombie-play-john-carpenter text=”Plays John Carpenter”]. This time the set up seems more like a (dare I say it) concept album and although the band bring all their arsenal of sounds from their previous albums, this has a touch more progressive rock going on. But this heightens the Zombie Zombie sound rather than diminishes it and this synthesis of musical styles has made an amazingly strong album full of mind-expanding music.

“The Wisdom of the Stones” starts with a wonderful Moog-type bass sound and immediately Cosmic Neman’s drums pick up the beat as a sequencer kicks in. The sound of Etienne Jaumet’s melodic lead sound is straight from Exit-era Tangerine Dream and adds a futuristic sonicscape over Neman’s now-busy drums. The synths then begin to swirl towards the track’s conclusion and a marvellous opening to the album. “Illuminations” has more of a straightforward beat to it with Neman’s drum patterns becoming slightly like those of Neal Peart of Rush in their precise execution, while Jaumet’s keyboards begin to hark back to Magic Fly-era Space. It’s the rhythm that mainly seems to hold the piece together until the synths start getting all dreamy-sounding and we find ourselves in more of a Moondawn-era Klaus Schulze for a while.

“Rocket #9” is a cover version of the Sun Ra track and was also released as a single from the album. Its Moog Prodigy-sounding bass motif carries the song, Neman’s Steve Jansen-eque drumming helps layer the track perfectly as it makes busy under the chanting vocals. When the sax hits in it feels for a moment that we are in a jazz bar on some distant world drinking an exotic cocktail and staring at the myriad of life forms. “Watch the World from a Plane” has a Neman proggy drum fill over electronic handclaps and some beautiful Jean Michel Jarre-sounding synths from Jaumet. When the track slows its pace to a beautiful floating section it is truly magical. It then builds back up to the major synth riff that sounds like a soundtrack to some ’70s sci-fi TV series and perfectly encapsulates Zombie Zombie’s sound.

Sequencers and a straight-ahead beat starts “Forêt Vierge” as slowly haunting synths take over the sound and a lead keyboard part chimes away like a distant tolling bell. Whining keyboards end the track over a flurry of drums and sequencers and the chiming bell synth. “L’Age d’Or” again  starts with a sequencer and a rather ill-sounding keyboard lead line until big chords come in and lift the track into a far more grandiose sound. This repeats verse chorus verse, adding new sounds each time to build the track up slowly until it reaches its crescendo and the track ends as it began. “Black Paradise” opens with outer space synth sounds while drums crash over the top and then slowly begin to play a shuffle over eerie lead. When the big bass notes and choirs come in and we are taken on a voyage to the planets. Then the middle section hits you with some wonderful drums and synth interplay before it comes scattering back to its main refrain. The album ends with the powerful punch of the track’s middle part to leave you on a wonderful jolt back to the real world.

It’s taken two years in the making, but Rituels d’un Nouveau Monde is an astounding piece of work that leaves you wanting more than its 45 minute running time. It has beautiful and some very odd sections at times it even reminded me a little bit of Topographic Oceans-era Yes, but all these comparisons go out of the window when you turn up the stereo and let the music float over you and take you on a journey of discovery.

-Gary Parsons-

(A bonus online track:)

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