ROB ZOMBIE – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser

0005217945_200I clearly remember the first time I ever heard of White Zombie. It was back in 1992 and I was watching Headbanger’s Ball and this bunch came on with a song called “Thunder Kiss ’65”. I didn’t know what to think – at first. The band looked like a bunch of homeless hobos and the music – well, at the time I was so into the American melodic hard rock thing that was on its way to fade away into oblivion and to me White Zombie weren’t anything more than some kind of troll shouting over some noise – I just couldn’t find a memorable melody anywhere. Besides, their name didn’t do anything to help their cause. See, I really had enough of all the “White” bands that was around. Whitesnake was one thing, but after them came White Wolf, White Lion, White Sister, White Trash, White Tiger… And here was another “White” band – that also, in my then opinion, sucked. I payed no more attention to White Zombie. Until three years later when I saw the video for their brand new single “More Human Than Human”. By then, my tastes in music had, not changed, but developed and I didn’t have a problem with taking in new music that was more heavy, aggressive and, yes, noisy. I was floored! The tune was awesome, so I just had to get my hands on their new album Astro Creep: 2000. I liked that album, but found it a bit uneven. Fast forward three more years and I had lead singer Rob Zombie’s debut solo record Hellbilly DeLuxe in my hands. That record changed everything. If I had reviewed music in 1998, that album would have gotten a 10/10 without hesitation. To this day, I reckon that record as a masterpiece. His 2001 follow up The Sinister Urge wasn’t as good, but it’s still a damn great album. It was with Educated Horses (2006) that things started to go downhill for a while. It’s not a bad album per se, but it felt rushed and the songs lacked the raw catchiness and big groove of its predecessors. The follow-up, Hellbilly DeLuxe 2 (2010) was a step up and a really good record, but when you decide to make sequel to a masterpiece it comes with some big expectations and the truth is, the sequel wasn’t even close to match the debut. His last album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor (2013) was a really pleasant surprise and the record was his best since the debut. I also saw Zombie (real name Robert Barthleh Cummings) live on a few occasions and the guy really seemed to be back on track. So when he now, three years later, releases a new record, it comes with some really high hopes and expectations.

Opener “The Last Of The Demons Defeated” is a one and a half-minute hybrid of a real song and an intro where Zombie chants “electric warlock acid witch” for most of the song and had he made a “real” song out of it, it could have been a really good one. Now it’s just ok as it really sounds like classic Rob Zombie and it does its job by taking us into the first – again – “real” tune “Satanic Cyanide! The Killer Rocks On!”. The song is pretty good, it sounds just like Zombie should sound, but somehow I can’t make it stick. “The Life And Times Of A Teenage Rock God” on the other hand, is really damn great. Nothing new under the sun, it’s a typical RZ tune, but it’s mega groovy with a killer melody and it shows RZ at his best. “Well, Everybody’s Fucking In A U.F.O.” – I just love that title – is a hard rocker with a nod back to the noisy old White Zombie style but with an almost drum ‘n’ bass groove and a funkiness that brings Primus to mind. It’s an ok song, a bit incoherent but it kinda works anyway. “A Hearse Overturns With The Coffin Bursting Open” is just an acoustic guitar based intermission. it’s kind of pointless and a bagatelle, you can have it or lose it, it really doesn’t matter. “The Hideous Exhibitions Of A Dedicated Gore Whore” is maybe the coolest track on the record. It has all the classic RZ ingredients mixed with some vintage Alice Cooper, a vibe that makes me think of The Doors and a pop feel on top. More of this, please! “Medication For The Melancholy” is another one of the classic RZ sounding tunes, this time more in the shape of a party rocker. However, it’s too short and passes by almost unnoticed. “In The Age Of The Consecrated Vampire We All Get High” is even shorter, but the song is so full of catchiness that it’s impossible not to register the tune. It has all the trademarks of old Zombie and the industrial vibe gives a nod back to the old White Zombie days. With “Super-Doom-Hex-Gloom Part One” we get another pretty pointless intermission, this time in a more electronica kind of way. Nuff said about that one. “In The Bone Pile” is a heavy rocker, classic Zombie style but with some Eastern arrangements and influences. Really good, even though I have heard better from Rob. “Get Your Boots On! That’s The End Of Rock And Roll” is another good but not great RZ – metal stomper. Closing track “Wurdalak” is the song that stands out most on the record. It’s heavy, dark and slow and sounds a bit scary – a really good song and the only one on the album over three minutes long with its five and half-minutes.

When I’m done playing the record I feel like a living question mark – what the Hell just happened here? All the songs are short, most of them way too short and it feels like the album is over before it started and I just can’t get a grip on it. Every time I listen to it, I get the feeling that what we’re given here is a bunch of demos, song that aren’t really done which makes Rob Zombie’s statements that this is album is the one that has taken the longest time for him and the band to make. It’s not like the songs are bad but they passes by so fast that it’s hard to actually register whether they are anything worth while. A strange experience to say the least. Maybe this is an album that have to be digested numerous of times before reviewing and maybe I will hold this as a masterpiece in six months, but somehow I doubt it. Style wise, this is a true Rob Zombie record all the way, but maybe it would have been better to shorten the song titles and extend the actual songs. I had hoped for more and frankly I’m disappointed – especially after his last killer record.

5/10

Other Rob Zombie reviews:
Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor

Tracklist:

1. The Last Of The Demons Defeated
2. Satanic Cyanide! The Killer Rocks On!
3. The Life And Times Of A Teenage Rock God
4. Well, Everybody’s Fucking In A U.F.O.
5. A Hearse Overturns With The Coffin Bursting Open
6. The Hideous Exhibitions Of A Dedicated Gore Whore
7. Medication For The Melancholy
8. In The Age Of The Consecrated Vampire We All Get High
9. Super-Doom-Hex-Gloom Part One
10. In The Bone Pile
11. Get Your Boots On! That’s The End Of Rock And Roll
12. Wurdalak

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