White Zombie were the heavy metal, alternative rock band that gave the world Rob Zombie only a few years later. They managed to have some good success, but nothing compared to what Rob would see with his solo career. This is their third album and let me say if you’re expecting the rock inspired, punchy, energetic music featured on Rob’s solo material, then you have put on the wrong album. While there are some energetic tracks, most of them specialize in heavy, sluggish heavy metal that sounds really cool at times and really tiring at others.
The best songs on the album are all found at the beginning. The opening track “Welcome to Planet Motherfucker/Psychoholic Slag” isn’t the best song here, but it gives you an idea of what to expect from the album. It has the classic White Zombie sound with the crunching guitar riff and the heavy as hell bass line that adds grooviness to the song. And in classic Zombie fashion, it has several samples from horror movies mostly during the intro. The song is all good until mid-way through, everything slows down. Everything drags along as the song progresses and it’s almost too much. You really can’t wait for the song to pick up the pace again.
The groove-tastic “Thunder Kiss ’65” follows after a brief interlude and when you hear it, you remember why it’s a classic for both White and Rob Zombie. Everything from the sleek bass line to the driving guitar riff has this infectious groove that gets you moving before the first verse comes on. Really, I don’t know what the song is about but it doesn’t matter because it’s so fucking good. Besides, who doesn’t love singing “Five, five, five” along with Rob? Another classic that’s found here is “Black Sunshine.” The best part of this song is the crazy bass line the opens the track. It keeps looping around itself until it makes you dizzy. Also, the spoken word intro is badass. It’s actually done by punk legend Iggy Pop and the way he delivers it, really gives the song a b-movie, grindhouse feel. It’s gotta be the most epic song about a race car ever.
The rest of the songs are pretty good, but they just don’t stand out like the classic tracks here. “I Am Legend” is based on the novel of the same name and it has a great plot to it. The way Rob sings and how the lyrics are put together really make you feel like you’re in this godforsaken apocalyptic waste land. “Grindhouse A-go-go” is one of the most energetic tracks on the album and begins with an awesome driving drumbeat that hits you right in the chest. The track “Starface” brings out the band’s psychedelic side with it’s intense drumming, swirling guitar solos, and Rob’s indecipherable vocals.
But if you’re expecting fast paced, high energy songs like the ones found on Rob’s solo albums, then you’re in for a surprise. Most of the songs here are slow and heavy as fuck. The music, pace, and mostly the bass on the songs are so heavy that you can hear it and feel it. The closing track “Warp Asylum” has all of these elements and it just drains the life out of you. It doesn’t make the songs bad, it just means you really have to be in the right mood to get through the whole album without passing out.
Another down point of the album is that the songs begin sounding the same after awhile. Most of the tracks have the same general sound when it comes to the music. The guitar always has this crunching sound and the bass is usually heavy. It doesn’t vary a whole lot, making the songs harder to tell apart. Also, there are a few interludes here that really don’t add anything to the record. It’s not a big deal, but it is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to music. Either way, the album is still pretty decent.
Overall, the album gets 7/10. It’s not super energetic like some of the band’s later work and like Rob’s solo work, but there are some kick ass songs here. A lot of the songs have a groove that you cannot deny, while others are so heavy it sounds like they were drenched in mud. Maybe the album would’ve fared better if there were more fast paced songs featured on the record. That way there would’ve been a good mix of both types of songs. The album isn’t perfect, but it’s still pretty solid and worth a listen to for any Zombie fan.