Living Dead Girl

The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser – Rob Zombie

Release Year: 2016

Rating: 8.5/10

Rob Zombie’s last few albums have been, well, just okay. Something about them didn’t have that fire and heaviness of his best material. For a while it seemed like he was too distracted to actually focus on music. On his latest, Zombie takes on music with the same venom and spooky nature that made him a staple in heavy metal. Returning to his metal roots and keeping this short and sweet has made this one of Zombie’s strongest albums to date.

The dark, gritty mood is set with the opening track “The Last of the Demons Defeated.” This one is classic Zombie all the way with the creepy noises, sampling, and screaming set against crunchy guitars. Rob Zombie then comes on repeating “Electric Warlock Acid Witch.” It’s a brief track, but it will peak listener’s interest and does give a taste of what’s to come. “Satanic Cyanide! The Killer Rocks On!” oddly enough seems like a throwback to the rocker’s White Zombie days. This track isn’t groovy or lightening fast. Instead it lulls at a slow, dragging pace and everything sounds like it’s caked in mud. It makes you feel drugged and heavy when listening to it. In terms of style and tone, it’s the heaviest on the record. It’s not the strongest song on the album, but it’s pretty decent.

Zombie has never strayed too far from rock music, but in recent years some of his albums have been more hard rock or psychedelic rock oriented. With this record, it seems Zombie wants to get back to his hey-day of supernatural heavy/groove metal. This is plainly heard on the infectious “The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God.” From the tribal drum opening to Zombie’s growling vocals, everything about it is reminiscent of “Living Dead Girl.” It even has the same flow and style of the song. The track manages to be memorable with the hard music and simple hook of “I’m a teenage rock god,” but you can suspect part of the reason it’s so good is its ties to the successful Zombie single.

Another song that’ll make Zombie fans think back is the kick ass “In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire we All Get High,” which has a similar electric, staticy intro as “More Human Than Human.” But that’s where the comparisons end. The track is everything a Zombie song should be: intense, high energy, kind of eerie, and lots of fun. Aside from this, the songs are more hard edge, dirty, and aggressive than they have been in recent years. Even though the entire track is really strange and somewhat off putting, “Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a U.F.O.” still has a great start/stop guitar riff that’s hard to resist. Zombie’s country vocal style is strange, but the song grows on you after a while. “Medication For the Melancholy” is an explosion of hard guitars racing towards an end, while Zombie growls through the lyrics. The whole thing is a mass of rapid energy that’ll get listeners moshing wherever they are.

Zombie returns to the psychedelic realm on “The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore,” which begins with a memorable sample of “Wow, you fucking whore.” Unlike the other tracks, which have loud, distorted guitars, this one has more of a groove. The psychedelic vibe comes in with 60s-esque keys blaring. Hearing them makes you picture bikini girls in fringe outfits and go-go boots doing the Watusi. Zombie returns to hard rock on the straight forward and somewhat forgettable “In the Bone Pile.” It’s another hardcore song that’ll get your blood racing, but there’s very little that makes it stand out.

He switches things up slightly on “Get Your Boots On! That’s The End of Rock and Roll,” which has this bouncy, pep rally feel to it similar to Marilyn Manson’s “Fight Song.” This one is upbeat and has a lot of energy and Zombie is infectious when he chants “Gabba gabba hey!” and “Wham bam thank you mam!” This is one that’ll get crowds jumping in unison at live shows. Up until this point that album is a raucous ride of partying with Rob Zombie. It’s not until the final track, “Wurdalak” that we come to a stop. Being the longest track on the LP at over six minutes, it drags on too long. Zombie mumbles his way through it while the music trudges on at a snail’s pace. This gives way to a light, acoustic outro that finishes the song. Again, not terrible, but dull compared to the other songs.

As Rob Zombie explored other outlets in his career, it seemed like music was taking a backseat seeing his last few lackluster albums. But this one shows he’s still got. It gets back to Zombie’s heavy metal, aggressive roots, but never sounds like he’s repeating himself. Most of the songs are wild, upbeat, fun, and just a rocking good time. The songs may be short, but they give you a taste, making you want more until you have to hear the album one more time. This is the best album Zombie has put out in years. He’s clearly not done making us groove yet.

Originally posted on Chicago Music

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Spookshow International – Rob Zombie

Release Year: 2015

Rating:  7.5/10

Last year, Rob Zombie released his first concert film. He follows that up this year with his second live album and it only took him eight years to do so. While it’s obviously filler to keep fans quiet until his next LP comes out hopefully later this year, it’s not a bad entry in his discography. The expansive setlist, high energy, and hyper performance put on by Zombie and his band are enough to convince you to see Zombie live for yourself.

Zombie and crew open with “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” from his 2013 album and while it’s not the most exciting track to start the show, it sets the tone for the rest of the evening. He wastes no time getting straight to the fan favorites with “Superbeast” and “Living Dead Girl,” which is one of many highlights on the record. Other tracks include “Meet the Creeper,” “Never Gonna Stop,” “Pussy Liquor,” and “Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga.” Zombie powers through each song with high energy and lots of attitude. He sounds great and the way he hypes up the crowd comes across really well on the record.

There are 20 songs total and even though Zombie performs them flawlessly, it goes on a little longer than it should. After a while you kind of tune everything out, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you see it. It also doesn’t help that “Thunder Kiss ’65” is stretched out to nine minutes thanks to a lengthy guitar solo from John 5. We get it, you’re super talented. That doesn’t mean you should play guitar in the middle of the song for three minutes. By the time he finishes you forget what song you were listening to in the first place.

What’s interesting to note is how he includes at least one song from each of his albums except Educated Horses. He most likely wanted to give newer songs a chance to shine, plus he covered a lot of those tracks on his first live LP. He does spend a lot of time on his well known hits, like “Dragula,” “More Human Than Human,” and “Demon Speeding,” but he also includes the best songs from his later albums, such as “Jesus Frankenstein,” “Dead City Radio,” which sounds better than the original version, and “Sick Bubblegum.” While these tracks weren’t as huge a success for Zombie, he manages to breathe new life in them making them more exciting than before.

One of the best parts come when Zombie does a rendition of The Ramones’ classic “Blitzkrieg Bop.” He previously covered the song for his 2003 compilation Past, Present, & Future, but this version is more in tune with the original. It sounds more vibrant and energetic than before making it better than his previous attempt. He also performs “We’re An American Band,” a cover from his latest LP, but no matter how much energy and power he puts into it, it doesn’t make me like the song anymore. Along with covers are some small interludes, such as Ginger Fish’s drum solo. Usually, these solos aren’t as exciting or interesting when not in a live setting, but this solo is short enough to enjoy it without it growing dull. It also gives the listener a chance to hear Fish’s talented percussion.

Overall, the album gets 7.5/10. While it wouldn’t be in my all time favorite live albums list, it’s still pretty good. Zombie covers some of his biggest hits while running through the best songs from his later albums. Even though the record runs a little long, Zombie and crew sound awesome and on point throughout the entire thing. It’s still better to see the man in person for yourself, but this LP should hold you over until the next time he hits the road.

Rank the Albums: Rob Zombie

Whether he’s grooving with White Zombie or flying solo, Rob Zombie knows how to get asses shaking. While he’s had some excellent hits with his former band, he also has classic and great albums on his own. Though his music career seems to have taken a back seat thanks to being in a director’s seat, Zombie manages to release music that’s interesting and catchy, even if it’s not always memorable. Either way, you can’t deny he’s had a lucrative solo career. Here’s a look back on all his albums both the good and the bad.

The Absolute Best:

Hellbilly Deluxe (1998)

Rob Zombie’s debut as a solo artist is often hailed as his greatest yet and it’s not hard to see why. Every song here is a creep-tastic hit. It still has the groove and odd flavor of White Zombie, but mixed more with hard rock, rather than slow burning heaviness Also, some of Zombie’s most memorable singles, like “Dragula” and “Living Dead Girl” are found here. It’s no secret that he loves horror movies and this album is the perfect homage to the genre. He cleverly mixes references and samples from old b-horror movies that fit perfectly with the dirty guitar riffs and funky bass grooves. This is the record where he established his unmistakable sound and he’s been trying to recapture the feel of this record ever since.

The Sinister Urge (2001)

After the success of his previous album, Zombie decided to stick with the formula that worked for him. Here, there are more horror movie references and samples, but he uses them in a way that doesn’t get tiring. Even though the hard rock element is still in his music, this is where he plays around with his sound. Elements of hip-hop, funk, and even classical music find their way into his creepy songs making one strange, but intriguing journey through the artist’s mind. Some of the stand out songs that’ll get your ass shaking are “Dead Girl Superstar,” “Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy,” and “Go to California.”

The Good:

Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (2010)

It’s hard to live up to expectations, especially when you name a new album after your most successful one. Yet, Rob Zombie was up for the challenge with this release. With the title and the cover image of a batter and torn Zombie, fans expected a return to form after a couple of mishaps in his career. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to expectations. To be fair, it’s not a horrible record. If you give the songs a chance then you’ll run into some that are really good, such as “Burn” and “Jesus Frankenstein.” Otherwise, this is one album you’ll try your damnedest to love, but just can’t.

Venomous Rat Regeneration (2013)

This is another album that isn’t bad, but is just forgettable, especially when it’s up against all the amazing albums that came out in 2013. I was really rooting for this album, but most of the songs are just okay with most fading into the background. There are some decent enough songs that’ll eventually grow on you, like “Dead City Radio,” but the psychedelic fueled record is nothing like his classic material. Also, there’s an awful cover of “We’re An American Band” on here. The song itself is already bland and Zombie didn’t do anything to make it at least tolerable. It’s this record that makes you realize he needs to put movies aside for a while and focus solely on his music.

The Bad:

Educated Horses (2006)

I’m not shy with how much I hate this album. Everything that makes a Rob Zombie record is taken out. There are very few spooky references, almost no samples, and very little heavy guitars. Sure, there are some pretty good songs here like “Foxy, Foxy” and “American Witch,” but the rest of the songs are boring, difficult to focus on, and don’t sound that good. There’s nothing wrong with him changing up his sound to do something new, but he did it in a way where he didn’t even sound like himself. Even if he just wanted to make a standard rock record that would’ve been fine, as long as it was actually any good. The four years between this album and his previous one seems to have taken their toll on the songs. They don’t live up to his reputation.

Mondo Sex Head (2012)

Rob Zombie remix albums are weird, some are the songs are good, some are pretty bad. But with this 2012 record there isn’t a single redeeming quality to it. The remixes either take apart the song so much you don’t even which one it is or there’s hardly any changes to the song at all. A lot of the mixes are repetitive, boring, or just annoying. Also, it seems like he’s trying too hard to fit in with the current electronic/techno trend in music. Sure, he’s used electronic elements before, but they completely take over on this album and it grows tiring real fast.

For Hardcore Fans:

Past, Present, & Future (2003)

This is a great compilation that showcases the strongest point in Rob Zombie career. Not only does it have his best songs from his solo career, but it also highlights his time with White Zombie. Plus, there are two previously unreleased tracks. They aren’t amazing, but they’re decent enough. There’s even an edition that includes a DVD with music videos of the singles included. There’s nothing bad about this release, but it depends on whether or not you care about having all of his LPs. If you already have his albums then it’s not worth getting, but if you want it for your collection or even just want to get into Rob Zombie, this is the best place to start.

 

 

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The Best of Rob Zombie (2006)

Icon (2010)

Even if you have all of Rob Zombie’s albums, it’s understandable that you may want at least one greatest hits collection of his, especially if it has unreleased material. But unless you’re a collector, there is no reason for owning three different ones with virtually the same tracklist. Even if they do have some songs that differ, they’re mainly album tracks that you most likely have anyway. I don’t understand how he ended up with so many greatest hits compilations, especially since they don’t have any of his newer material. They’re not bad; afterall they do have some of his best songs, but unless you need to have every Rob Zombie release, then these aren’t for you.

 

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.