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Not a whole lot of space rock/prog rock bands of the early 21st century are mostly guitarless -- let alone entirely instrumental. But that is exactly the approach that the two gentlemen known as Zombi have chosen to take. Comprising members Steve Moore (bass and synthesizers) and Anthony Paterra (drums), the group hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shortly after forming, the duo signed on with Relapse Records, which proved to be an interesting choice -- as Zombi have very little in common sonically with the extreme metal acts that make up the majority of the label's roster. And as evidenced by such recordings as their sophomore full-length effort, Surface to Air (2006), and their fourth album, Escape Velocity (2011), Zombi obviously hold early-'80s Rush in very high regard. In fact, you can go as far as saying that such classic Rush releases as Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, and Signals (an era when Geddy Lee and company fully embraced Moog synthesizers) serve as the blueprint for the duo's sound. On Zombi's third album, Spirit Animal (2009), the group broadened its sound a bit by featuring electric guitar for the first time (supplied by the multitasking Moore). Krautrock, Italo-disco, and sci-fi film soundtracks were the big influences on 2011's Escape Velocity. Zombi were given the opportunity of a lifetime in 2013 when Italian prog heroes Goblin (best known for scoring classic horror flicks such as Suspiria and Dawn of the Dead) asked the duo to open for them on their first-ever American tour. In 2015, a compilation that featured Zombi's extremely rare self-released 2001 debut along with a 2003 tour-only EP was released by Relapse. Titled The Zombi Anthology, these early songs were inspired by classic slasher and horror films, with a particular nod to director/composer John Carpenter. Zombi's next proper studio album, 2015's Shape Shift, found the group returning to their earlier bass guitar/live drums/analog synths setup, abandoning much of the horror-disco and knotty prog rock elements of their previous two albums. ~ Greg Prato

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