Review Summary: Zombie tries to have a little fun, but will his attempts to start a party be in vain?
Rob Zombie has been very forgettable as of late. Not really bad persay, but nothing has come near the caliber of "Hellbilly Deluxe". "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor" is hoping to change that with more of a focus on groovy, dance metal rather than the raw, somewhat lo-fi rock and metal sounds of "Educated Horses" and "Hellbilly Deluxe 2". It's somewhat of a cross with his stellar debut and the poppier songs on "The Sinister Urge".
"VRRV" somewhat drew me in at the beginning with its song titles. Some real classics can be found here such as "Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga", "Behold! The Pretty Filthy Creatures", and my favorite, "Teenage Nosferatu Pussy" which sounds like a track that would be on a crossover album between Anal Cunt and Murderdolls. Inane title aside, "Teenage Nosferatu Pussy" kinda gives you the wrong idea of what you're going to find in this album. It chugs along with a very heavy industrial beat and has a badass gothic riff in the beginning that . It's certainly a highlight of this album.
I also appreciate how Rob's voice isn't as high and nasally as it was in his past few albums (for the most part anyway). He's going back to that deep, gravel that he had in "Hellbilly Deluxe" and really shines on the first single "Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown". It has some insanely cheesy spoken word portions and very loud yelling in the verses. A southern tone, old sounding sound bites, and some lyrics referencing naked women and you've got a formula for a typical Rob Zombie song, and it's pretty good. It's what you'd expect from Zombie which is why I wish a different song was chosen for the single. I went into this expecting another average album and I think that's what a lot of other people went into this thinking as well.
The only real problem I have with his voice is in "Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga". The verses are pseudo spoken word and have an extremely irritating filter on them and makes the song near unlistenable. The chorus is catchy, but I don't find it worth it to listen to.
From this point on, Rob puts on his dancing shoes and tries to get you moving with the rest of the album. A lot of poppy club metal is to be found from this point on, and it's a lot better than it sounds. "Revelation Revolution" will do what it's trying to: it will make you want to dance. That along with the fact that the riffs are simple, yet catchy makes the track worth listening to. "Rock and Roll (In a Black Hole)" starts off sounding like a Felix da Housecat song. It's got a thumping electro dance beat and followed by an explosive rock beat. It's one of the most entertaining and fun tracks on the album. The lyrics are horrible at times, but for once, I don't care. Just get moving and you'll enjoy this song.
Sadly, once "Behold! The Filthy Creatures" comes along, the album sort of runs out of new stuff for a while. The next few songs all sounds very similar. Just some more radio friendly-ish party rock. Despite the lack of variety, it still stays relatively enjoyable throughout. Each song still has very catchy beats and lyrics than can easily get stuck in your head.
I've never really heard a cover that Rob Zombie's done that I liked. White Zombie's version of "Children of the Grave" was mediocre at best and his "Blitzkreig Bop" cover wasn't much better. While not the strongest track, "We're an American Band" is still an alright song. Can't imagine why he chose to cover this though. It doesn't really match up with the rest of the album lyrically or content wise. It's not as fun or dancey as the rest of the album.
The last issue I have with the album is "Trade in Your Guns For a Coffin". Despite being a totally rocking song and probably one of the best songs on "VRRV", it makes the album feel incomplete. It doesn't feel like an ending track at all and it's so abrupt that it leaves you wanting more. At least put a short noise track after this to make it feel a bit more complete. But really, this is merely a cosmetic issue.
What I like about "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor" is that it knows what it is and it sticks to it. It's not the next big thing in horror-industrial metal, it's a club friendly rock album with some electro dance moments. Put this record on at a party and everyone's going to be on their feet having a good time, and that's where it succeeds. It radiates fun in almost every song and still keeps the cheese-tastic "horror" feel of Rob Zombie in tact. So in summary: grab a keg, grab some friends, and grab "Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor", and go ***ing wild.