Fresh flavour to the well-worn formula

Rob Zombie is one of the original spookycore kids of this generation.

Taking the Alice Cooper formula with his original band White Zombie and slowly ramping up the horror schtick to breaking point, before sticking out alone and introducing a more industrial element to his music, thus opening paths for so many other musicians and artists to follow their muse into schlock horror.

Never sitting on his laurels as he splits his time between film and television along with musical output, it generally means that such output can be sporadic or extended at best. This album comes out five years since his last ridiculously titled album.

Not much has really changed in the musical world of Rob Zombie. At least not since his attempt to change the wheels enough to rub fans the wrong way with 2006’s Educated Horses.

The album starts as expected, with a cinematic intro before diving headlong into that expected stomp dosed out in short sharp blasts that don’t allow the song to outlive and kind of welcome. This begins to change with Shadow of the Cemetery Man, as it carries a cool country rock vibe, bringing a fresh flavour to the well-worn stomping musical formula. After a brief interlude,  18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks & aOne Way Ticket on the Ghost Train (please, enough with the exorbitant titles already. They are getting ridiculous and difficult to type) really ups the proceeding vibe, going full country-industrial-American fairground, adding the smallest amount of flair to remind you that this is more a mid-album experiment than a complete change in musical direction. As far as musical curiosities go, any other band is going to have to try pretty hard to come this far from the wrong side of the field this year to top it in both listenability and impact. Meanwhile, The Much Talked of Metamorphosis allows guitarist John 5 to show off how much of a talent he is if you weren’t already aware.

After these few interesting tracks, it all falls back into formula. Don’t take that as a negative, Rob Zombie is an originator of this kind of music and still is one of the best at it. When you hear the beginning of The Satanic Rites of Blacula where Zombie tells drummer Ginger Fish how he wants a beat played you know this is going to be stomping good time, again with a concise run time to help keep it all focused. Honestly, I had up until this point grown weary of Rob Zombie and his ridiculously lengthy titled albums and songs. I am not a believer in ‘growing out’ of music, but I just haven’t connected as well with some of the material as well as I once would have. This album has realigned my ideas once again. The hints of experimentation throughout, far more obvious in the album’s mid-section, bring back a spark to his music that felt all but paint by numbers on the previous couple of releases.

1 Expanding the Head of Zed
2 The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)
3 The Ballad of Sleazy Rider
4 Hovering over the Dull Earth
5 Shadow of the Cemetery Man
6 A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared
7 18Th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket on the Ghost Train
8 The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man
9 The Much Talked Of Metamorphosis
10 The Satanic Rites of Blacula
11 Shower of Stones
12 Shake Your Ass-Smoke Your Grass
13 Boom-Boom-Boom
14 What You Gonna Do with That Gun Mama?
15 Get Loose
16 The Serenity of Witches
17 Crow Killer Blues