Way back in 1985, an age when melodic rock such as Bon Jovi, Ratt and Mötley Crüe ruled the stages, a young Rob Zombie, then known as Robert Cummings, formed the band that later would be called White Zombie together with then girlfriend and bass player Sean Yseult. The band released two albums, Soul Crusher (1987) and Make Them Die Slowly (1988). But the world weren’t ready for the noisy, industrial metal they were playing at the time. Also, the albums were independent releases so they didn’t exactly set the world on fire. But by 1992, things had changed and by then, White Zombie had been completed by Jay Yuenger on guitar and drummer John Tempesta, who later would be part of both Exodus, Testament and The Cult, – this would be known as the classic White Zombie line up (Ok, Tempesta replaced Phil Buerstatte in 1994….). The band started to get some recognition with their third effort La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol 1 (1992) that spawned a mini hit in metal circles with “Thunder Kiss ’65”, but it was with their Astro Creep 2000 album (1995) and the single “More Human Than Human” that the band got their break. It would also be the last thing they ever did together (except for the re-mix album Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds in 1996) and the band broke up in 1998 due to musical differences.
But Rob Zombie wasted little time in lounging his solo career. He brought Tempesta with him, added Riggs (guitar) and Blasko (bass) and released his debut solo album, the fantastic Hellbilly DeLuxe the same year and three years later the almost as brilliant The Sinister Urge, two albums full of groovy and swinging metal songs that lent towards industrial sounds. Not too far off from what White Zombie just to do, but way catchier and groovier. Since then, Zombie has been working as a movie director / writer and an actor as much as a singer which meant that five years would pass before Zombie’s third release, Educated Horses, saw the light of day in 2006. An album that wasn’t exactly bad, but showed that Rob Zombie has lost some of his musical focus and that it was with making horror movies he would make his living. But things would change in that department as well because back in 2010 Zombie released his come back Hellbilly DeLuxe 2, an album full of killer tunes and a passion for rocking again. A tour followed and with his new band featuring John 5 (formerly of David Lee Roth and Marilyn Manson) on guitar, Piggy D on bass and Ginger Fish (ex Marilyn Manson) on drums, Rob Zombie showed everyone that he was back in action for real
That said, it feels really nice to state that with his new album, Rob Zombie has made his best album since his debut. It’s also nice to state that he has managed to develop the Rob Zombie-style, putting in some new ideas without moving away too far from his brand. Like the opening track “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy”, a brilliant song, heavy and slower than we’re used with an organ added to the mix, but still very much Rob Zombie sounding. And “Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown” is a killer classic rock track, all done Rob Zombie style, “Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga” is so groovy and rhythmic it’s mind-blowing – a classic Rob Zombie track and the same can be said of “White Trash Freaks”, “We’re An American Band” is a great cover of the old Grand Funk Railroad song, complete with a cowbell, that has gone through the Rob Zombie transformation and with the awesome “Lucifer Rising”, Rob visits his old White Zombie days.
A very strong album and for everybody who are already fans, this album is a must, but for all of you who havn’t given him a chance before, it’s time to do so. Rob Zombie is playing in a genre that can easily get a bit monotonous, but Zombie thinks outside of the box and has no problem borrowing from other genres to improve the music, some of it has probably to do with new producer Bob Marlette (Alice Cooper, Black Stone Cherry, Sebastian Bach, Black Sabbath, Union). This is heavy metal with touches of industrial, but with hooks catchy as a STD and elements of rock n’ roll, pop, jazz which makes for some interesting listening that never gets dull. If everything turns out alright, then Zombie has another platinum album on his wall in the not too distant future.
Jon Wilmenius (8/10)
01. Teenage Nosferatu Pussy
02. Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown
03. Revelation Revolution
04. Theme For The Rat Vendor
05. Gong Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga
06. Rock And Roll (In A Black Hole)
07. Behold! The Pretty Filthy Creatures
08. White Trash Freaks
09. We’re An American Band (GRAND FUNK RAILROAD cover)
10. Lucifer Rising
11. The Girl Who Loved The Monsters
12. Trade In Your Guns For A Coffin