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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Zombi - Dawn of the Death

Review by Gary Hill

Based on the band name and title of the disc, one might think this is an extreme metal band. It couldn’t be further from the truth, though. This is essentially instrumental progressive rock. It has some jazz and some classical in the mix, but overall it’s pure prog. Yes, it gets heavy (almost to the point metal at times) but this is not metal. It’s a cool disc, though. It has a lot of variety and really entertains.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Lalba Dei Morti Viventi

Pounding in bombastic and symphonic, there is a dramatic sense of something mysterious and ominous as this builds out. Non-lyrical voices are heard sort of as a chorale instrument. The first parts of this are quite percussive and rhythmic. A metallic pounding is added to that as it continues. Cool keyboards solo over the top of this later. Then they turn the whole thing into a rather Yes-like jam for a time. It gets some metallic influence along with some thing a bit like Pink Floyd for the guitar solo section later. The cut works through with variations on these themes to continue.

Powering in with a real fusion element, this is another killer tune. There’s a killer groove after the opening section that’s almost funky. I love the bass sound on it and the percussion is really prominent and quite tasty. There is some purely awesome keyboard work on this and this is even better than the opener was.
At the Safari
Sound effects lead things off here. Percussion comes up and really dominates this. In fact, this is mostly just percussion with some sound effects over the top.
Torte in Faccia
Bouncy and fun, this reminds me of some of the more playful things Rick Wakeman sometimes does.
This very definitely feels a lot like something Hawkwind would do. It’s a hard rocking and energized tune.
La Caccia
This really feels like something Yes might do in some ways. It’s energetic progressive rock with some cool shifts and changes. It turns a bit harder rocking later and organ soloing adds to the mix. It’s one of the more dynamic cuts here.
There’s more of a mainstream rock element to this cut. It has some cool melody in the mix. There are some bits that make me think of The Beatles just a bit.
Piano opens this and then bass comes in bringing it into fusion territory. It turns to more mainstream prog at times. There are some awesome keyboard textures over the top of this at points. We also get some notable guitar soloing. At points I’m reminded just a bit of Pink Floyd. This gets quite intense at times.
This is just a short piano solo.
Zombi Sexy
Sultry and pretty, this is pretty much a pure jazz ballad. It’s got a real soulful vibe to it.
A killer retro organ sound is heard as this starts. It’s definitely got a Booker T and the MG’s vibe to it. There’s some fusion at play for sure, too. This is just a great groove. There is also some cool guitar soloing on it.
I would probably describe the first parts of this as Emerson, Lake and Palmer meets Sugarloaf. It works through a number of different sections and gets very intense before finally ending. Although this is the first of the bonus tracks, it’s one of the best cuts here.
Toccata E Fuga
This piece starts with a classical organ solo. Then it powers out with metallic guitar in the mix. This almost feels like a more proggy version of Stratovarius. It goes out into a nearly pure heavy metal jam for a short time as the guitar solos. Then it gets back to the main themes and the proggier styles to continue. Again, while this is a bonus track, I’d put it up against anything on the “album proper.”
Il Cartaio
The piano that opens this reminds me a bit of the theme song to “Peter Gunn.” After a time that melody line is brought into hard rocking territory. Then the piece continues to evolve, dropping down at times and climbing back up again. In a lot of ways, though, this really does feel like a progressive rock take on that kind of theme song concept. It’s got a neo-classical movement, too.
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