Remastering albums is a tricky business. For every perceived mistake or fault which gets cleaned up, smoothed over, or completely erased; for every tweak or alteration to the mix, there will always be listeners who prefer the original, no matter what. Trying to improve a recording can often lead to losing the charm of the original, and so as much as record label Nuclear Blast have given a significant portion of Blind Guardian‘s discography a deserved facelift here, the results will lie purely in the eye (or in this case, the ear) of the beholder. Continue reading
Rather unsurprisingly, Rob Zombie records are much like Rob Zombie films. You either like them or you don’t. His films are nightmarish, brutal gore-soaked rides featuring masked or grease-painted trailer trash homicidal maniacs, old B-movie references (and actors), a marvelously excessive use of the word “motherfucker”, and of course, Sheri Moon Zombie. His albums are almost identical except possibly for more gasoline guzzling, psychoholic undead werewolf go-go dancers.
So, if you’re reading this review then there’s a good chance you already have more than a reasonable idea of what’s waiting for you even before you start listening. All you really want to do now is read about how fucked up it is and how much you’re going to like it.
The preposterously titled The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser (Zodiac Swan) begins with ‘The Last of the Demons Defeated’, a short intro featuring the voice of infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. The first proper song, ‘Satanic Cyanide! The Killer Rocks On!’, is a typically
bombastic assault, featuring quotes from leader of the Texas Cornerstone “Megachurch”, Pastor John Hagee (amusingly sped up so he sounds like some kind of loopy religious Minion) and author Steven Jacobson speaking about mind control.
‘The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God’ begins slowly with keyboard effects acting like the soundtrack to a mad scientist’s laboratory, but soon hits you with a driving beat and an Alice Cooper vibe. As a bit of an unusual departure, RZ releases his inner Les Claypool with ‘Everybody’s Fucking in a UFO’. If you haven’t already heard it, just imagine ‘Winona’s Big Brown Beaver’ by Primus, but with a crunching riff, more profanity, and huge spurts of green alien jizz.
‘A Hearse That Overturns With the Coffin Bursting Open’ is a an acoustic interlude that lasts only a little longer than it takes to say the title. This is followed by ‘The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore’ which includes a Vox organ and a creepy audio sample featuring Charles Manson family member Leslie Van Houten (taken from the same interview, incidentally, that White Zombie used for ‘Real Solution #9’).
‘Medication For the Melancholy’ is a fast and furious affair, the obligatory featured audio sample coming this time from Pam Grier blaxploitation flick, Coffy. ‘In The Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High’ (come on, Rob. Really?) is a thunderously good signature Zombie tune that doesn’t sound a million miles away from long-time fan favourite, ‘Superbeast’, and ‘Super-Doom Hex-Gloom Part One’ is another instrumental interlude, but unfortunately doesn’t really do anything that interesting.
‘In The Bone Pile’ comes with bags of attitude and a surprisingly short title, while ‘Get Your Boots On! That’s The End of Rock and Roll” is absurdly catchy with its “Gabba Gabba Hey, Be-Bop-A-Lula” chorus, and album closer ‘Wurdalak’ is a slow, grinding, atmospheric tribute to Boris Karloff in the 1963 Mario Bava horror film “Black Sabbath”.
Zombie has referred to his new album (there’s no way I’m writing that title out again) as “seriously our heaviest most fucked up musical monster to date”, and although it’s clearly a beast, it’s not dramatically heavier than his last couple of releases. It’s also a relatively short album, coming in at only just over thirty minutes in length. But the truth is that it doesn’t have to be heavy as hell or longer than the average album to make an impression. Each song is a short, sharp jab of (sick) bubblegum Americana, a swift, strikingly confident punch in the face that knocks you down but makes you want to get straight back up to take more of its addictive abuse.
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