Thursday, May 15, 2014


Review: Dæmonia - Zombi Of The Dawn Dead (2013)

Artist: Dæmonia
Album: Zombi Of The Dawn Dead
Year: 2013
Label: Black Widow

Review: Michael H


Now horror music fans and in particular the works of Goblin know what to consider for their next purchase! Zombi Of The Dawn Dead (2013) is a re-release from Goblin companion band Deamonia of the bonus disc originally available on their DVD/CD set Dario Argento Tribute: Live In Los Angeles (2006). With the popularity of TV shows such as `The Walking Dead' and the continued mass appeal of the horror movie genre, in particular an interest in the defining movies of the 70's and 80's, there has never been a better time for Dæmonia to reappear. With this album, they acknowledge the status that the original soundtrack Zombi/Dawn Of The Dead (1978) has, as too it's movie counterpart, amongst both veteran horror fans and younger generations discovering them for the first time, so it makes sense that they latch on to that interest. Here the band reinterpret those many classic Goblin `Zombi' pieces in a way that will appeal to both original fans and younger newcomers.
While many of the pieces remain true in spirit to their original versions, there's frequently an added plodding heaviness that metal fans will enjoy. Even some of the biggest Goblin fans would have to admit that some of their 70's pieces have not aged particularly well, so this album gives them a modern makeover that will possibly even appeal to younger listeners. Having said that, it's an album of two halves - the first five or so pieces (as well as the bonus tracks) are aggressive and heavy, while the remainder is lighter, more affectionate and 70's influenced, with jazz, prog and classical elements.

Gothic synth choirs over chugging riffs, heartbeat-like drums and sprawling David Gilmour inspired heavy guitar work get the album off to an intense start on `L'Alba Dei Morti Viventi'. `Zombi' is given a frantic makeover, now sped up for added tension and violent drama, with riff-heavy guitars and pounding drumwork crashing all over intimidating synth choirs. There's some cool extravagant percussion that recalls some of those more forgotten Goblin soundtracks in the 70's and 80's, with a dazzling extended electric piano solo from Claudio over a kick-drum attack! Very addictive stuff. The punishing coldly programmed beats and impossibly heavy electronic drums on `At The Safari' are relentless and bring an unbearable tension. `Zaratozom' sounds like an instrumental outtake from Iron Maiden, all chugging riffs, galloping bass and soaring guitar soloing, while the stop/start build, tricky time-changes and swirling Moog runs of `La Caccia' could almost be Yes reborn as a heavier band!

Strangely, the second half of the album seems to have a complete change of heart! `Tirassegno' is a lovely romantic upbeat piano and electric guitar number. `Oblio', the absolute highlight of the album, slows things down for a somber and thoughtful piano piece, sounding almost like one of those modern King Crimson `ProjeKt' pieces, with lovely fretless bass, haunting Mellotron and ethereal guitar soloing. It's followed by a minute-long solo piano interlude `Risveglio' that's quietly sad and reflective, and `Zombi Sexy' is a floating laid-back romantic piece with glistening synths and humming Hammond organ. `Supermarket' wraps the album on a sprightly foot-tapping jazz- rocker, plenty of cool guitar solos, loose drumming and infectious grooves all around. It sadly ends very abruptly just as the band could really start jamming and take off.

To top off the CD release, there's three bonus tracks, including a harder remake of Goblin's `Roller' with added synth choir vocals and some supremely heavier riffs and up-tempo pounding drums in the middle! Seeing as `Roller' is one of my all-time favourite albums, I'm very happy to hear this version not let down the original! A bombastic church organ and supremely heavy riff run-through of Bach's `Toccata E Fuga' and sinister chilly stalking `Il Cartaio' stomping piano rocker wrap up the disc. Oddly, these three bonus tracks would have been more suited to the heavy sections of the main album! If they were slotted in after `La Caccia' the album would have flowed better, as good as the lighter later sections truly are.

Unfortunately for me there's still those kitschy piano dittys like `Torte In Faccia' that I never enjoyed the first time around on the vintage albums, and they sure don't please me now. It's nice to know the band have a sense of humour, but by all means, if you must, put them on as bonus tracks at the end of the album, as they really stand out too much from up the brooding tension the band builds so well.

Although not completely confronting and darkly immersive as projects like Morte Macabre, this album is perfect for fans of the more melodic horror themed bands such as Anima Morte and even fellow Italian horror project L'Ombra Della Sera. Undemanding, not especially challenging, but sumptuous to listen to, perfectly played and very addictive. On some of those later tracks, you can really hear the band's energy and infectious sense of fun. That makes this release easy enough to put on as an undemanding background listen, but even better when turned up loud for those heavier pieces!

The band was included in our Podcast #32 and you can listen the song 'Zombi' HERE.

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