In 2008 Peter Saville emphatically pronounced the album cover dead. Shrinking to fit the screen of an iPod or smartphone, artwork is increasingly measured in pixels rather than inches, easily passed over in a digital age. For Steve Moore and Anthony Paterra, two halves of synth-prog duo Zombi, however, album art provides a telling entry point to the music that waits underneath. The elephant galloping through the purple and turquoise haze on the front of 2009’s Spirit Animal, for example, conveyed the psychedelic leanings, the penchant for kitsch, and the sheer brute force of the music. Free from words, Zombi’s output is science fiction on an epic scale with our protagonists heroically grasping for some supreme unknown.

On the cover of Brainstorm we are presented with a giant hand as it rises up from scorching sands towards the burning midday sun. Evoking the dawn of man scene from Kubrick’s 2001, the monolithic image begins to conjure up a pre-creation supernatural reality which is borne out over the course of the next 40 minutes.

A split LP, Brainstorm sees the duo divvy up the album in to two distinct sides, with Moore opting to fill his half with four separate tracks of synth oscillation and Paterra – aka Majeure - choosing to consolidate his work in to a single, sprawling prog epic, Atlantis Purge.

Moore’s half bursts on to the scene with 'Enhanced Humanoid'. Driven by a sinister 8-bit riff, the opening bars create the sort of distorted tension that seemed consigned to the past when the Commodore 64 sold its last unit. Giving way to luscious, deep water chords, it touches on the Detroit electro of Drexciya as Moore pits the abrasive against the serene.

'Null Space' and 'Dawn of Primordial Life' see Moore move towards the transcendental. As the synthesised choirs swell, the dark anxiety of the first track is expelled, flooded with light in an aural approximation of the creation narrative. The uneasiness returns as quickly as it left, however, as 'Alternate Quantum Realities' reprises the space-age keyboard kitsch of the opener, ensuring that any slats of sunlight in Moore’s section are bookended with a claustrophobic darkness.

In contrast to the decidedly man-made sounds of the first 20 minutes, Paterra’s half begins organically. A swirling breeze and the trickle of water create an initially barren scene which slowly comes to life; Majeure invoking his own prog Eden through myriad arpeggios that gradually twist and distort until they’re finally untethered, transforming into enrapturing walls of wailing synths. When the percussion finally kicks in, it’s nothing short of cathartic.

The trouble with the record, however, becomes clear at that very moment. While Paterra indulges the listener’s hunger for release, Moore’s larger-than-life synth-scapes can seem meandering at times. It is refreshing to hear at least one half of Zombi forge ground away from the Italo-prog of previous albums but the tracks seem to loop interminably and often fade without climax. The Zombi aesthetic has always been clear; build and release. The only real climax here, however, comes during the closing five minutes of 'Atlantis Purge', delayed until the 40-minute mark.

All in all, this is a solid effort which stops short of outstanding. Viewed as an album, it’s bloated. Strikingly ambitious but lacking in variety. As two EPs, Paterra’s stands out as the more cohesive, if not groundbreaking. And while it’s interesting to see the two musicians at play in separate spheres, it would be much more rewarding to hear them together, unified and focused enough to finally make the great Zombi record their artwork has been promising.