Vae Vobis


Until now, Zombie Zombie mostly pushed the song for covers (Iggy Pop, Sun Ra or New Order). For this new album, they built long harmonic progressions, along with singer Angèle Chemin, a soprano familiar with contemporary music, and Laura Etchegoyhen, Swiss army knife of Basque origin. You know it, even if you haven't worn out your bottoms on the pews of a church: Latin sings well. But, why Latin?: "We wanted to remain mysterious, to send cryptic messages, to dive back into a language from another time, like the copyist monks of the Middle Ages." And like their hooded ancestors, they do whatever they want with the text, and add porn illuminations in the corners, for those who know how to listen closely. Zombie Zombie is fifteen years old, or 90 years in group-years (multiply by six: more than a cat, less than a dog). That would have been enough to rest on their laurels, with an old fashioned in each hand. But no: they went for full-on fat and reverberated doom orgy. Choir work hints at the arrangements of David Axelrod or Ennio Morricone, with chanted syllables on several titles ("Lacrymosa", "Consortium"). This album gambles hard. Decidedly, Vae Vobis is not your average 122 bpm banger party. It's a well-balanced album, worth listening to in one go, to let each trap-of-a-track work its magic. E.g. "Ring Modulus", which, under its strong structure, houses extended-vocal-technique ornaments. Or "Aurora", a megalomaniac jewel cut to open the circus games. The brass section of Dr Schönberg and Etienne Jaumet plays it peplum style, along martial percussions banged on by big dudes in leather sandals. A disruptive album after more than ten years at Versatile Records -- an oddity born in the anxiety-fueled lockdown -- no matter: there's everything you love about Zombie Zombie, starting with their musical know-how. The ubiquitous vocoders are pushed to their limits. Sax, trumpet, and percussion come and add color to the record. The trio's musical tastes cover 95% of the styles listed by Discogs. So, it's no surprise that the black metal/doom reference is absolutely assumed. Each piece is a launching platform for big lyrical flights. There's space in the compositions: drums beat from the depth of time, as they would, in rather short pieces that will flourish on stage (hoping that the venues let them bring in the brilliant choristers). CD version includes 16-page booklet.