Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Rob Zombie: Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (2010) Review

Rob Zombie's newest album, Hellbilly Deluxe 2, came out today, and I'll be one of the first to get my thoughts out there (instead of waiting a year as it seems I usually do).

On the whole, it is a pretty standard Zombie album, which I think is what we really want from him. It's not really a musical continuation of 1998's Hellbilly Deluxe as it's billed, but instead is more in the vein of 2006's Educated Horses. It starts out with "Jesus Frankenstein," certainly one of his better tracks, and one which perfectly illustrates Mr. Zombie's clever sense of humor and knack for riding the edge of self-parody. "Sick Bubblegum" is both catchy and needlessly profane, so some will like it while some won't. It seems it's the only one with a lot of profanity, and was likely written that way to earn the "explicit" label. "What?" combines the circus obsession of early Zombie efforts like "Grease Paint and Monkey Brains" with the style he first explored on "The Scorpion Sleeps," and also adds an element of Ministry's "Jesus Built My Hotrod."

The first weak spot on the album is "Mars Needs Women," a thoroughly boring track, repetitive and unimaginative musically as well as lyrically. But things quickly pick up again with "Werewolf, Baby," a song which reminds me of "(Go To) California" and "Never Gonna Stop" from 2001's The Sinsiter Urge (my favorite post-White Zombie album in his catalog).

"Virgin Witch" and "Death and Destiny Inside the Dream Factory" come next, tracks I could do with or without.

"Burn" follows, a solid rock 'n roll style song with vocal embellishments not unlike scatting. It is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, and will likely please anyone who's a fan of "Foxy, Foxy." Next is "Cease To Exist," a more slow-rolling song and one without any parallel in Zombie's catalog.

My favorite of all, in terms of the humorous images conjured, is "Werewolf Women of the SS," built on the premise the Nazis engineered, well, werewolf women. It's also musically satisfying. Finally is "The Man Who Laughs," a song that it seems Zombie has done several times before--but there's no reason to change it up too much.

As I said, it follows in the vein of Horses rather than one of Zombie's better albums. It definitely has its high points, but it has enough low points in it to hurt the final result as an album. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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