Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
To say that Rob Zombie has had both a colourful life and career is somewhat of an understatement.
The polymathic musician is as well known for his horror film directing as for his music and that’s not to mention his acting and his comic book authorship.
From his very earliest years, born into a family of carnival workers, he’s been involved in entertainment all his life and pours every single fibre of passion into each project. This latest album is no exception.
The first thing that strikes you about this new opus, beyond the wonderfully lengthy title, is the grand cinematic structure of it. Sections of music, sometimes mixed with dialogue, act as atmospheric leads into the action of the songs and gives the whole a unique atmosphere that is far from the norm.
Anyone who has ever witnessed Zombie’s live shows knows it’s an all-encompassing experience, the huge video screens and effects giving the audience an electric charge that mixes the buzz of cinema with the visceral thrill of a loud rock show.
The structure of the album also gives you this extra layer, immersing you into the whole project that draws you into a three-dimensional world, rather than a one where you’re only hearing the songs themselves.
There’s always been an element of the shock rock of Alice Cooper in Zombie’s work, having learnt from the master himself, but things are taken another level up and given it a dirty, fuzzed up edge.
‘The Ballad of Sleazy Rider’ and ‘Shadow of the Century’ positively vibrate with a sinister and unhinged scuzzy rock edge, Zombie being in fine Conductor of the Darkness mode, a twisted storyteller with bedtime tales that will keep you awake all night.
With the sound of a Hammer Horror organ that tears into a full speed and turbo charged pure rock ‘n’ roll blast that Lemmy would have loved, single ‘The Eternal Struggles of The Howling Man’ blasts down the highway, taking a few brilliantly surprising detours along the way.
The monstrous short sharp shocks keep coming as ‘The Satanic Rites of Blacula’ is full of punky vim and fire and ‘Shake Your Ass – Smoke Your Grass’ piledrives in Clutch style stoner rock fashion.
There is a real art at play here, each new song like a different scene of a portmantua horror film, separate themes and styles but all very much linked by the central narrative thread.
You go from the woozy desert hillbilly rockabilly of ‘Zombie Boom Boom’ conjuring images of heat hazes, cold beer, dust and bleached white skulls to the mystical East / Industrial / funky wig out of ‘Get Loose’ which sounds like Ravi Shankar, Rammstein and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers got into the room and jammed.
The album closes with the climatic, boss fight of ‘Crowd Killer Blues’, a huge and atmosphere mix of John 5’s massive riffs and a vibe that sees Ozzy style drama with Zombie as the psychopathic Circus Ringmaster.
You never get ‘just’ an album of songs from the Massachusetts mad man; each new release is a thrill ride that scorches itself into the senses and ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ might just be his finest and most fully realised yet.
In a world full of copies and pretenders, Rob Zombie is both an originator and the real deal.
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