Groove Metal

Big Sexy Land – Revolting Cocks

Release Year: 1986

Rating: 7.5/10

With one of the most offensive names in rock music, Revolting Cocks formed in 1983 by Al Jourgensen, Richard 23, and Luc Van Acker after a bar fight in Chicago. Since then the band has continued to make music throughout the years. Their debut album showcases the sound and feel Jourgensen’s band, Ministry, would move to shortly after the release of this LP. Considering the main players in the band and the music they make, it’s hard not to make the comparison to Ministry. If anything the album can be viewed as a stepping stone to the Ministry that’s known today.

Named after the Heysel Stadium disaster of 1985, “38” begins with rapid fire percussion followed by a deep, funky bass that gets the groove going. Though apparently Jourgensen did none of the vocals for the LP, somehow Richard 23 still manages to sound like the frontman only with a slight British accent. The whole thing has a cool industrial groove to it that makes you dance. Unlike some of the later material, it’s not intense or super heavy, a theme that runs throughout the music. “We Shall Cleanse the World” has an upbeat feel and reminds you 80’s club bangers. Here, samples Jourgensen would use in his other work makes an appearance. The vocal delivery is commanding, which works well with the lyrics: “Cross the city very fast/No time to lose, no time to lose/Cross the city very fast/You’re the only driver who can do it.” The entire thing has this Big Brother mood to it that’s a bit unsettling.

Attack Ships on Fire” has similar if not the same music as the opening track: the same mix of synth, heavy percussion, and that sexy bass groove. What really makes the song is the whole creepy vibe to it. The vocals are a whisper, which are then twisted and distorted you can barely make them out. Then, he screams “Someone somewhere wake me up!” sounding tortured and distressed. The music also features a lot of weird noises, like random laughing and moaning, reminding you of disturbing Ministry songs, which of course some of their best.

The LP features a few instrumental tracks, but they command your attention as much as the other songs. On “Big Sexy Land” the light synth and various samples used really reminds me of songs from Pretty Hate Machine. The band gets really creative on “Union Carbide,” both mixes, by remixing the samples to create its own rhythm and hook. The way the music twists, turns, and changes sometimes right in the middle of it, keeps your interest and keeps you moving, which seemed to be the band’s goal at the time.

When the LP was remastered in 2004, it featured the previously unreleased track “You Often Forget” and it’s not as strong or memorable as the original songs. The music is jarring and sounds like a record skipping. The vocals themselves are layered on top of each other making the whole thing disorienting and hard to listen to. Clocking in at 8:30, the song grows dull after a while and can’t hold your attention like the other tracks. When you hear it, you understand why it was left off of the original release. After this, the rest of the LP doesn’t hold up. “TV Mind” and “No Devotion” aren’t bad tracks, but with similar synth music and deep grooves, everything sounds familiar and is easy to tune out.

Whether it was intentional or not, Jourgensen laid out the foundation for later Ministry albums. While the music for this project is more groove oriented instead of brutal, the two bands sound pretty similar, but what else would you expect with most of the members in this band? The first half of the LP is strong with ear catching sounds, but it all starts to run together by the second half. None of the songs are out right, but they become forgettable. With Ministry supposedly at an end, maybe Jourgesen will round up these guys for another album. Once could only hope.

Astro- Creep 2000: Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Illusions of the Electric Head – White Zombie

Release Year: 1995

Rating: 8/10

White Zombie and its figurehead Rob Zombie, are known for their love of horror movies and generous use of samples. That didn’t change on their fourth and final album. While their earlier efforts focused on their psychedelic, groove metal side, the band takes things in a darker direction here. Elements of their previous sound aren’t totally abandoned, but heavy music and disturbing lyrics take over. Not only is their new direction apparent, but Zombie’s future solo career can also be heard.

Things start off good and creepy on “Electric Head Pt 1 (The Agony).” An ominous creepy sample from the movie The Curse of Frankenstein sets the mood, followed by haunting organ music that sounds like it was made for an old black and white horror film. It amps up the unsettling vibe before the music speeds up. Afterward, everything sounds gritty and dirty, like it’s being dragged through the mud. It still has a really great to mood to, similar to their earlier songs. It’s a great way to start the record and serves as a reminder why the band were so unique.

Super Charger Heaven” speeds things up with the rapid, raw music full of energy. Rob Zombie sounds downright evil as he spits lyrics like “Yeah inbreed the witches /and worship the dogs/Deformed and fuck’n lazy/Damn yourself and choke” and that’s only the beginning of the supernatural references. There’s even some unsettling chanting by the end that completes the horrific feel. Zombie really shows off his witty, visual side with the lyrics painting weird and odd images. “Creature of the Wheel” comes off really slow and heavy. Everything sounds de-tuned, even Zombie’s vocals as he sings in almost a growl. The whole things comes off really dirty and rough. The use of samples here is no different than the others, except that it’s unnerving. Something about the way the crowd drones “Nooo” when asked “does he have the marks?” gets under your skin.

Electric Head Pt 2 (Ecstasy)” is punchier than its counterpart. The music here is energetic and even has a hint of their previous funk/groove infused sound. As soon as you hear it, you can’t help but start moving. Zombie’s future solo career comes through the most on this track. Everything from the opening line “I just say up yours, baby” to the pace of the music, and even the way he sings “Yeeeaah” is reminiscent of what he would do later on. Still, it manages to be catchy and is one of their best songs. “I Zombie” isn’t hard to remember thanks to the constant use of the line “I Zombie.” The track deceives the listener into a peaceful mood with a choir harmonizing until it’s interrupted by a blood curdling scream. It’s aggressive and comes right at you without stopping. It delves right back into their psychedelic realm making this one trippy ass ride for the listener.

Hands down the best track on the album is “More Human than Human.” The song just kick ass, plain and simple. It finds the band using a bit of electronic for the throbbing riff that opens the song. The peeling guitar then shreds through fierce and is on fire. Zombie gets creative with the lyrics making up words like “psycholic” to describe this creature. There’s even a line that mentions “love American style,” which may be a reference to the show of the same name. Everything about it is awesome and really catchy. The oddly titled “Grease Paint and Monkey Brain” starts off sounding demented before the music slows down into a trance like state. This is probably the heaviest song on the record, which makes it a bit too slow at times. Still, the lyrics that equate death with a fucked up version of Las Vegas keeps your attention all the way through.

White Zombie were one of the most exciting, crazy, freaked out, and creative metal bands of the 90s. Though they disbanded right when they were hitting their stride, they at least went out with a bang on this LP. It left fans with some kick ass hits and gave Rob Zombie the basis for his successful solo career, which he’s still finding time for today when he’s not directing questionable horror movies. The music is heavy, the lyrics are creepy, and as always with White Zombie, there’s a bit of a groove to get your ass moving. It’s a great farewell from an awesome band.