This past week saw the first three-way disagreement of an album on this journey we call “Eugeology: Eugene’s List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems” compiled by Eugene and reviewed and blogged by him, Jon and me. It was Kick Axe’s Vices. It’s cool that we can do that, though. So, let’s get to this week’s entry:
#5 – Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International by Rob Zombie.
This is probably the most difficult entry I’ve written in a while. Certainly more than any of the other four Eugeology entries and probably harder than many of the latter Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums of All Time entries, as most of those were really obvious. This, though, is enigmatic to me.
My problem with this album, along with about everything Rob Zombie does – from his films to White Zombie – I can’t get a grasp on how I feel about it. I listen to it with an open mind, putting stuff down and listening to it without typing or reading or anything that would serve as a distraction. I do this because I want to give it the fairest of shakes that I possibly can. I hear it and all I hear is music. I don’t hear anything that pleases me. But, on the converse, I hear nothing that displeases me.
I mean, I do like “Living Dead Girl” and “Dragula” (although I did have to hear a horrible version in karaoke at a local bar last week) and I mean like, a lot, even. I liked “Thunder Kiss ’65,” too. I guess it’s a matter of liking the singles. But, the rest of it, is just… there. So, I’m going to move out of whether I like it or not and touch on what I think are highlights of the album. That seems the fair thing to do.
Rob Zombie has become known as much for his films, mostly in the horror noir genre, as he is with his music. Films like House of 1000 Corpses, its sequel The Devil’s Rejects and his two Halloween remakes, dark, horror and well… zombified. That is in direct correlation to what his music is all about. There’s a classic horror/sci-fi vibe to the whole thing. The song “Dragula” is named after the car that Grandpa Munster drove around in the television show, The Munsters. The grinding, industrial mix of what is considered “heavy metal” with electronic music is like a buzzsaw taking out your eardrums, and you’re most likely digging that.
I do like that the members of the band only go by their last or nicknames: Riggs, Blasko, Tempesta. There’s a cameo by Tommy Lee on the songs, “Meet the Creeper” and “The Ballad of Resurrection of Joe and Rosa Whore.” I like the sound bites from the old sci-fi/horror films and the creepy girl’s voice in “Call of the Zombie.”
The lyrics of the songs are clever humor buried in the wild macabre of “Zombieland.” These are good driving songs. You can tell with the title of the album that Rob doesn’t take himself too seriously, that’s a plus. I’ve listened to this album about 4 times now, trying to find the words to describe it and I guess now I can actually say that I do like it, but I’m still completely indifferent to Rob Zombie. I can’t pull either direction in enough to get on a side, so I’ll straddle this fence to the point of parts of me going to sleep, I guess.
I keep thinking that “Perversion 99” is hiding “I Need Love” from LL Cool J but going through some weird filter.A lot of this sounds the same to me, lots of grinding and pulsating and that’s not a bad thing, just there’s a whole lot of it. Some good ones are: “Demonoid Phenomenon,” “Superbeast” and, of course the two hits. I don’t care for “How to Make a Monster.” Beyond those songs, it’s definitely listenable, but I don’t know how remarkable. It’s good but it starts to get gnarly the more it goes on; it grates on you. If you’re a fan of hard and heavy novelty music (and I mean that in the best, positive way), then you’ll like this. If you don’t, just go ahead and stay away. I certainly don’t mind it.
I can’t wait to hear Eugene’s, and especially, Jon’s take on this.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Dead I am the pool, spreading from the fool. Weak and what you need, nowhere as you bleed. Dead I am the rat, feast upon the cat. Tender is the fur, dying as you purr. Dig through the ditches and burn through the witches,I slam in the back of my Dragula!” – “Dragula” (Zombie)