Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor- Rob Zombie

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Release Year: 2013

Rating: 7.5/10

Let’s face it, Rob Zombie’s music has seemed to suffer in the last few years. Hellbilly Deluxe 2 was okay, but didn’t meet all the hype that was given and I won’t even talk about that horrid remix album from last year. With this in mind and a ridiculous new album title, I was expecting much of the same. While the album isn’t his best work ever, it is his most solid since the mid-2000s. Maybe it’s because he brought out some classic Zombie tricks for great songs or he decided to actually focus on his music for a change.

Rob Zombie doesn’t seem to be afraid to try out new things for his music and while all attempts may not be successful (see Educated Horses) here the subtle change isn’t bad. What separates this album from his others is that there doesn’t seem to be as many horror movie references as found before. He does toss in a couple found on songs like “The Girl Who Loved the Monster” and “Behold! The Pretty Filthy Creatures,” but for the most part there aren’t many found here. Rather Zombie seems to be going for a trippy feel with this record. Most of the lyrics are just weird and present some really weird images. “Revelation Revolution” has the line “Bow before the two headed god/Sing it hey hey yeah/A jack boot money with lightning rod/Sing it hey hey yeah/We are what we are like it or not.” Yeah, have no idea what’s going on here. Some of the music itself has this trippy feeling as well.

The short instrumental “Theme for Rat Vendor” has this psychedelic, sitar music playing. It also has this Middle Eastern flavor that makes you think a belly dancer is going to slink into your living room. But unlike his previous studio album, this one has more songs that actually stick with you. Despite the stupid name “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” is one of the best songs on the record. In classic Rob Zombie form, it begins with creepy samples from old movies until the slow, heavy music comes in. It has this damning feel to it, like you know something bad is coming for you. The chorus of “teenage Nosferatu pussy, turn it up, turn it on” is reminiscent of the chorus from “Demonoid Phenomenon.” It’s catchy and easy to sing. Still, it’s a great opener that makes you curious about the rest of the record.

“Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown” isn’t the best Rob Zombie song out there, but it’s decent enough. If anything it’ll start to grow on you if you listen to it enough times. While it does have that classic Zombie heaviness and groove that’s found on his best songs, it’s almost too much going on here, considering the music and the spoken word bits Zombie does. Oddly enough, it does sound like something found on his earlier albums, which is another theme he seems to be exploring with this record. Another good song is “Rock and Roll (In a Black Hole).” While it can get somewhat repetitive with the simple chorus and the weird counting that’s involved, it’s a good track. It’s the chorus itself that makes the song. It’s loud, fast, heavy, and catchy like a good Rob Zombie song should be.

The second half of the album gets a little dull as the songs start sounding similar to one another. They’re not bad, but tracks like “Lucifer Rising” and “Trade in Your Guns for a Coffin” have nothing about them that make them stand out. That being said, most of the songs here are good expect for the baffling cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band.” Out of all the awesome and amazing classic rock songs that he could’ve covered, he chose this one. It wouldn’t be so bad if he actually made the song bearable or really different, but it’s basically the same song with some additional guitars and gritty vocals. It really feels like filler for the album, especially since it doesn’t fit in with the sound or feel of the rest of the songs. Definitely a low point for this record.

Overall, the album gets 7.5/10. There are some really good songs here that harken back to Zombie’s first album, but there are also some decent tracks that end up being filler for the rest of the record. While some fans may find the lack of horror references refreshing, others may find it disappointing. But Zombie tries to make up for it by adding in a new trippy element to the music. Though it’s not one of his best albums and it falls when compared to his first two albums, it still his most solid and pleasing work since the mid-2000’s. It seems that this time around there was more focus on the music, rather than his other projects. If he could fully commit to making an album without making a movie at the same time, maybe his next music release will be even better.

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