It sings in Latin, and it does a lot. 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 which sing 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.
As distinguished as the trio is, they did not go to faith schools either. As far as we know, their new label Born Bad did not start a partnership with the Ancient Language Preservation League, so we asked : why?
"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. Choirwork hints at the arrangements of David Axelrod or Ennio Morricone, with chanted syllables that they scatter 33+8 - style on several titles (Lacrymosa, Consortium). This albums gambles hard.
Decidedly, Vae Vobis is not your average 122 bpm banger party, although we are looking forward to seeing what a DJ can do with Nusquam and Ubique on a drunk crowd in tie-and-dye gowns. 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. To measure the excess, we must take seriously these pleasure palaces (as one calls those houses for which the architect was told "carte blanche, fuck my shit up").
A disruptive album after more than ten years at Versatile Records ? An oddity born in the anxiety-fueled lockdown ? No matter: there's everything we love about Zombie Zombie, starting with their musical know-how. We thought they'd hired a bass player on Erebus, and nope, synth again (SH-101). The ubiquitous vocoders are pushed to their limits. Sax, trumpet and percussion come and add color to the record, whose cover, gently apocalyptic and serene, is signed by Druillet / Avramoglou.
We know too well that on Cosmic Neman's turntables, it's always gangbang time. The trio's musical tastes covers 95% of the styles listed by Discogs. So it's no
suprise that the black metal / doom reference is absolutely assumed: "we found ourselves playing in a black metal festival in California, where we were the only tenderfoots without tattoos, long hair or perfectos. But what we offer is more of a pagan ritual."
May contain traces of doom : we have been warned. However, on stage, do not expect antics based on gowns and fake blood pentacles. We said "take this album seriously", not "free admission with a headless goat". Each piece is a launching platform for big lyrical flights. It may be the forced lockdown diet trauma that speaks, but we feel that they just want to play this music. You can get a glimpse of the slaughterhouse stage madness at the end of War is coming, hard-hitting the red thanks to Laurent de Boisgisson, who recorded and mixed at studio One two Pass it, in Bagnolet. 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).
Vae Vobis, woe to you, Vae Victis, woe to the vanquished. Who would that be ? The wretched outcasts of our society ? No, "a spell cast on the dominants". In the Empire's lingua franca. Seemed appropriate.
Consortium te amat, veni ad Consortium : the consortium loves you, come to him. Get your membership card now.