Review: Rob Zombie – 'The Electric Warlock…'

Rob Zombie – ‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’

Ever since splitting from White Zombie and beginning his solo career in 1998 with Hellbilly Deluxe, Rob Zombie’s mission has seemingly been to combine shock rock with fat industrial beats, a sleazy, sexy vibe and B grade horror movies – less ‘sex, drugs, and rock n roll’, more ‘sex, gore, and rock n roll’, as it were. If that has indeed been his intention, then has he fulfilled it brilliantly so far, selling over fifteen million records (many of which made the Top Ten) directing several horror movies, and contributing to soundtracks, and carving his own niche into the music market to boot. His sixth album comes complete with its own ‘standard Rob Zombie weird title’ (deep breath): ‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’ is released worldwide at the end of April, a date his fans have been eagerly counting down to. Frankly, with a title like that there should be no surprises; we gave it a listen anyway, just to see what Mr Zombie and his crew have come up with this time. The album opens with brief intro track ‘The Last Of The Demons Defeated’, with an old school Hammond organ refrain being joined by that inimitable Zombie thump. First track proper ‘Satanic Cyanide! The Killer Rocks On!’ is a rather slow-burning number, that takes a sly pop at religious crazies’ conclusions about rock music, all encased in a sexy, slinky beat. Shock rock for strip clubs, if you will. This vibe continues into ‘The Life And Times Of A Teenage Rock God’, which talks about the rock star lifestyle (“gonna get some ass”), with a simple, yet catchy and effective chug, which is rather reminiscent of ‘Phantom Stranger’. First single ‘Well, Everybody’s Fucking In A U.F.O’ follows: a quite simply bonkers number, with a sort of ”Devil Went Down To Georgia’ on acid’ feel and a crunchy, thumping riff. It’s as ludicrous as it sounds… in the good way, of course. A short bridging track (‘A Hearse Overturns With the Coffin Bursting Open’) later, and we come to the second half of the album with ‘The Hideous Exhibitions Of A Dedicated Goat Whore’, which proves that Zombie is indeed still capable of inducing a shocked gasp and a giggle. With its startling lyrics, “That girl is a goat whore!”, unhinged synths and snarling riffs, it ain’t exactly classy, but it sure is raucously entertaining. Then, ‘Medication For The Melancholy’, which, despite its sombre title, is a rip-roaring blast of a tune, and one of the album’s highlights. Sounding a bit like a sped up version of ‘Superbeast’, it’s fun and feisty. Second single ‘In the Age Of The Consecrated Vampire We All Get High’, is the track where everything comes together perfectly, from the industrial synths to the funky beat and wailing, trippy guitars. This is the one that will undoubtedly send audiences into a dancetastic frenzy when played live; one can effortlessly picture a field full of black-tshirted revellers getting DOWN to it. After a bit more trippiness in bridging track ‘Super-Doom-Hex-Gloom Part One’, the listener is hit with the immediate pulsating beat and challenging lyrics of ‘In The Bone Pile’; it’ll make you dance more than headbang, but it’s still savagely enjoyable. Then a roar of guitar squeal begins ‘Get Your Boots On! That’s the End Of Rock And Roll’, followed by that immediately recognisable Rob Zombie sound, complete with Fifties song quotes, a wailing guitar solo, and even handclaps. You simply will not be able to keep still! Finally we arrive at album closer ‘Wurdalak’, which shows off quite a different side to Zombie. At five and a half minutes long, it’s almost double the length of every other song, and possessing a malevolent beat. It is pretty experimental, and a definite departure from the rest of the album. That said, it does have a kind of ‘soundtrack’ feel – something like the final song in the Rocky Horror Picture Show – and Zombie has contributed to soundtracks before, so perhaps it’s not so unusual, after all. It wraps the album up with a very theatrical minute of thunder, fading out in picturesque and slightly hammy fashion, of which Zombie is the master… again, in the good way. ‘The Electric Warlock…’ shows Rob Zombie at his most confident and self-aware. It clocks in at just over half an hour, easily digestible in a single sitting, and is hugely and cheerfully over the top in its execution. The result is an album that’s pretty much ‘all killer no filler’ (although it’s true that the second half is stronger than the first), bursting with attitude, grooves, industrial rock, metal, and beats, that simply insist you move. Mission accomplished, then. Review by Melanie Brehaut]]>

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