REVIEW: Rob Zombie, Hellbilly Deluxe (Geffen)
- Sean Eric McGill
Rob Zombie has become the Roger Corman (or Fred Olen Ray, the choice is yours) of rock music. The music of White Zombie and his new solo album Hellbilly Deluxe have the same sort of schlock to them that makes them the sonic equivalent of a B-Movie. There's something to the overall spookiness of it that makes you realize that the music (or its creator) isn't taking itself all that seriously, so why should you? At least, that's what I hope.
Because if Rob Zombie isn't the freaked-out carnival barker that he seems to be and is truly serious about not just his music, but its lyrical content, he might well be headed into a claymation deathmatch ring to challenge Marilyn Manson for the title of "Most Evil Man Alive". Hellbilly Deluxe, Zombie's first solo album, is full of song titles like "Demonoid Phenomenon" and "The Ballad of Resurrection Joe and Rosa Whore", and my own personal favorite "Dragula" (named after Grandpa Munster's car). And even without the actual band White Zombie (save for drummer John Tempesta), Rob Zombie and fellow producer Scott Humphrey put together a band and a sound that adds a more industrial flavor to Zombie's past efforts, but still maintains the core that lets you know who the creator is.
Outside of Tempesta, the lineup for the album is fairly simple, including Charlie Clouser and Danny Lohner from Nine Inch Nails and Prisoner No. 896876 himself, Tommy Lee, who plays on "Meet the Creeper" and "Resurrection Joe".
And now, here's the problem. This is the part in the review that you usually use to describe the sound of a band. But the biggest problem I've always had with White Zombie, and am having again with Hellbilly Deluxe, is that I've never been able to pin down what it was about their sound that I liked so much. It is a full, rich mixture of different genres (mainly hard rock and industrial) that I particularly enjoy, but perhaps the concept of the band struck me as much more interesting.
And the concept that Zombie started with the band White Zombie continues here with Hellbilly Deluxe . Much like the old A.I.P. pictures like The Raven with Vincent Price (or newer A.I.P. fare like Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers with Linnea Quigley), Hellbilly Deluxe delivers cheap thrills that don't really leave any lasting substance behind with them. Of course, that's not bad - that's what entertainment is for sometimes. Not every song on every album by every band should be loaded with deep meaning, and I just hope these songs aren't. Then, I would be truly frightened.