Hellbilly Deluxe II
A mixed bag from a creative genius
A creative mind is obviously a wonderful thing to behold, and an individual who can write and record albums AND direct films, both of which get major worldwide release, has to be a serious talent and worthy of admiration.
There is a point where the creativity gets spread a little thin, over too many projects, and I think we have a case of that here. In the last 10 years, Rob Zombie has created four major films, an animated feature, done TV shows and has two more films currently in pre-production. Somehow he also found time to also record and release three solo albums, on which he no doubt toured extensively, the latest of which is 'Hellbilly Deluxe 2', the sequel to the original which came out in '98. The man obviously has a bountiful brain, but at least part of thinks he should simply concentrate on one single project to make sure it's as high quality as possible. It may also have positive commercial ramifications if it turned out to be his musical endeavours that he put all of his efforts into, as it wouldn't be so long in between drinks for his musical releases. His last solo album was four years ago, and with attention span of today's youngsters being akin to your average goldfish, he may be at risk of falling off the musical radar.
Anyway, if the man himself happened to be reading this, he'd probably be insulted that lowly old me was attempting to give him advice, so far be it for me to try. What's the new album like? It's not that Hellbilly 2 is bad. Far from it. It opens strongly with 'Jesus Frankenstein' and the single 'Sick Bubble Gum', both horror movies set to hard Rock Music. It also finishes with a bang with the triple fisted closure of 'Cease to Exist', 'Werewolf Women of the SS' and the ten minute 'The Man Who Laughs', replete with drum solo that actually outstays it's welcome and doesn't really reach any great heights. The songs are good though, and show a slightly different, somewhat experimental side to the Zombie-man.
The middle section of the album fails to ignite however. 'Mars Needs Women' with a Southern Blues acoustic twang, and the groove is awesome. But the chorus is a little naff and simplistic. 'Werewolf Baby' is uninspired, clichéd boogie, and 'Death and Destiny Inside the Dream Factory' sounds more like something Wednesday 13 would do. Plus, everywhere is his obsession with nasty movies. It pervades almost every song on the record, and gets a bit tired. The performances of his band are a little non-descript as well.
In a word, uneven. There's touches of greatness, a few pretty good tunes, and some pedestrian stuff. Give the movie making away for a few years leading up to the making of you next album, Rob, and you may make a classic.
(Roadrunner Records/Warner Music Australia)