More Human Than Human

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.

 

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The Zombie Horror Picture Show – Rob Zombie

Rob-Zombie-The-Zombie-Horror-Picture-ShowRelease Year: 2014

Rating: 8.5/10

It’s hard to believe an artist whose been around as long as Rob Zombie has is just now releasing his first live concert film. When asked why it took so long, Zombie admitted he didn’t liked being filmed and found the cameras annoying. He eventually grew fond of the concept, but made sure it was unlike any other live concert you’ve ever seen. Taking the director’s chair once again, Zombie manages to make the show look like a b-horror movie. With stunning visuals, a solid setlist, and great video effects, the release manages to keep your attention all the way through.

Unlike other rock musicians out there, Rob Zombie isn’t afraid of being a showman. He doesn’t stand behind the microphone the entire time, letting the audience wash him with praise. Instead, he constantly moves around the stage and isn’t afraid to dance if the mood strikes him. During songs like “More Human than Human” and “Sick Bubblegum” he thrashes, wiggles, stomps across the stage commanding the audience’s attention at all times. Seeing his enthusiasm and energy for the songs gets people watching at home out of their seats and dancing.

There are no lack of visuals and pyrotechnics at this show. Every minute there’s something different to catch your eye. Whether it’s clips of the film Nosferatu playing during “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” or a giant devil strutting on stage during “Devil Man,” Rob Zombie clearly knows how to keep the adrenaline going. One of the most shocking moments comes during “Meet the Creeper.” After an impressive drum solo from Ginger Fish (formerly of Marilyn Manson), a robotic, industrial truck rolls out carrying Zombie on its back. It looks like the Iron Giant welded together to make a truck. It’s the coolest and most unexpected moment during the show. No matter what track is playing, there are always eye catching videos and effects to go along with it.

What makes this concert film unique is the way it’s shot. The problem with films like these is after a while it gets dull, especially if it’s focusing on the same shots. Zombie fixes this by not lingering on one moment for longer than five seconds. Every moment flashes by, giving the viewer just enough time to get the awesomeness of what’s going on. If this wasn’t done as well as Zombie does it, the effect would be annoying, but he does it in a way that keeps you interested the entire time. Some songs have effects layered over the shots giving it more of a ’70s film feel. One example is during “Devil Man,” which uses the kaleidoscope, mirror image. The singer manages to mix his favorite topics of sex, horror, rock, and psychedelia to give fans a complete experience.

The setlist is a good mix of material from his latest album Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor and fan favorites from his earlier LPs. “Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga” finds the audience singing with Zombie, while he goes back to his days in White Zombie with the popular “Thunder Kiss ’65.” “House of 1000 Corpses” gets the winter treatment with fake snow falling from the sky, covering the entire stage. Zombie comes out looking like a demented Uncle Sam during “We’re An American Band” and “Living Dead Girl” makes the arena explode. With an energetic and electric live band that includes John 5 and Piggy D, Rob Zombie proves he knows how to party on the road.

Overall, the release gets 8.5/10. This isn’t your standard concert film. Everything here is pleasing to the eye. There are stunning visuals and memorable stage moments made to keep you entertained. With one or two exceptions, the setlist is solid and Zombie’s energy runs high. The film is also the right length, long enough to get the feel of a Rob Zombie concert, but not too long where you want it to end. Even though this is his first concert filmed, it feels like he’s a pro at it. Hopefully, he has more planned for the future.