Hellbilly Deluxe- Rob Zombie

Release Year: 1998

Rating: 8.5/10

The solo debut of Rob Zombie is a tribute to b-horror movies. There are references to them and even samples from them in just about every song. Hell, even the album sounds like a soundtrack to a horror movie. But this adds to the charm of this heavy album. There are tracks here that would go to become fan favorites and other great songs that deserve more attention. One thing’s for sure about this album it will get you moving.

The creepy instrumental “Call of the Zombie” sets the mood for the album with sounds and samples spurn from a b-movie. After that we launch into “Superbeast” one of Zombie’s best known songs. The song is filled with massive energy that will have you head banging to the hard guitars. There are also several sound effects tossed in to get the feeling that you just stepped inside a horror movie and you won’t be leaving until Rob Zombie is done with you.

There is not a disappointing song to be found here. Some of Zombie’s most well loved songs, like “Living Dead Girl” and “Dragula” are found here, but there are some others that really pop and standout. One is “Spookshow Baby,” which opens with an exotic riff that adds some Eastern flavor to the song. Zombie sounds really sinister and menacing here as he quietly sings “High noon, dead moon/hangin’ all over you.” It’s an awesome song that mixes horror with a groove to really get you moving.

Another great song is “The Ballad of Resurrection Joe and Rosa Whore.” Startling screeching music introduces this track before the hard distorted guitars take over. This is probably the heaviest song on the album with the guitar riff coming in randomly after Zombie finishes a lyric. Also, during the chorus while the vocals are reminiscent of something you’ll find on a Marilyn Manson album, the guitar is aggressive and in-your-face. This song has an obvious metal influence.

Unless you happen to not notice the titles of the songs or even catch the samples used in them, there is obviously a theme here: horror movies. Anyone who is familiar with Rob Zombie knows he is a huge fan of horror films, particularly b-movies and his love for them makes a strong presence on the album. There are tons of references to them in the lyrics, whether it’s a direct reference to a movie or just imagery that’s related to the horror genre. In “Living Dead Girl” the references are abundant: the music at the beginning of the track is taken from Last House on the Left, the spoken words “What are you thinking about?” are taken from Daughters of Darkness and there are references to the film Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine. The music itself sounds like it was lifted from a horror movie. “Return of the Phantom Stranger” has creepy piano playing that reminds you of the music heard in silent horror films. And there are even howling sounds present in the background. If there’s a message Zombie is trying to get across with this record it’s horror movies fucking rock.

The music here will get you dancing and head banging at the same time. While this is a very heavy record, with crunching bass and guitar, there is still an undeniable groove found here. It seems like Rob Zombie likes to dance (just watch the “Thunder Kiss ’65” video to see what I mean) and he wants you to dance too. It’s this groove mixed in with the heavy guitar and bass that makes the music catchy and keeps it from getting repetitive. There is always something new to find in the music that really makes it stand out, whether it’s the samples, the aggressive music or the horror influenced sounds. It all keeps the music fresh.

Overall this album gets 8.5/10. This is album gets you moving and keeps you moving from start to finish, whether you’re dancing to Zombie’s groove or head banging to the harsh guitars. All the songs are great, even the short interludes that occasionally pop up here. Rob Zombie’s love for horror films is loud and clear here. The way he manages to mix in references, samples, and even make his music sound creepy and haunting will impress you. It’s probably the greatest homage to the horror genre.

What’s your favorite track from this album? What do  you think about the album? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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