Review Summary: Cheaper thrills.
When Rob Zombie announced the band would focus on harder hitting material for their fifth record, chances rose for a better follow-up to 2010's scattershot, Hellbilly Deluxe 2
. Unfortunately, the outcome is again rather disappointing, with Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
sounding as silly as the title itself. Being even more whimsical in nature, the record threatens to dissolve Zombie's remaining relevancy as a lyricist.
It is true that Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
rocks more than the previous two installments in the band's discography (Hellbilly Deluxe 2
and Educated Horses
), but it's harder and harder to get past the fact these guys are recycling the same few tricks every time. John 5 is one hell of a guitar player, as he displays in his solo efforts, yet he sticks to the same straightforward riffs that everyone became accustomed to since his Manson days and can be done in his sleep. New member, Ginger Fish (also ex-Marilyn Manson), provides a more electronic approach to the drumming section, which is a welcomed addition to the same, worn formula. Often, these simple, hard hitting drum patterns give 5 and Zombie the power they need for their delivery. Regardless, much like Manson's case, these guys have to remember this is the Rob Zombie show and like John said in an interview "He’s the boss and if he wants it a certain way, that’s how it’s going to be. I’ll put in my two cents and then he’ll put in his, but at the end of the day, he’s the boss and he’ll always be the boss". Always relying on the same hellish bark and hillbilly apocalyptic scenarios, which are getting more cartoonish with each album, it is clear that Zombie isn't interested in experimenting or letting the other members develop the musical ideas. As a result, the tunes are always the same 3-minute, hit or miss, kitsch goth party rockers.
The lyrical content, as mentioned, is the main reason this record isn't as good as it should be. Tracks like "Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga", "Teenage Nosferatu Pussy" or "Behold! The Pretty Filthy Creatures" are plagued by terrible lyrics, even though the music is solid, especially on the latter. Most of the others are sticking to the same non-sense B-movie horror shtick, but less annoying. Also, the electronic experiments aren't always that convincing, as it's the case with "Rock And Roll (In A Black Hole)", a song that only jumps several times from a minimal drum and synth line to a heavy, in-your-face chorus, without any other segments in between. This one will most likely engage the fan base into a bipolar debate.
However, not all is bad on Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
, as the band is still capable from time to time to churn compelling, high octane tunes. These include "Lucifer Rising", "Revelation Revolution" and the short closer, "Trade In Your Guns For A Coffin", which can be compared to his scorching late 90s and early 00s output. Also, "Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown" is the glam influenced, metal tune that Marilyn Manson's "Arma-Goddamn-Mother***in'-Geddon" should've been, while the Grand Funk Railroad cover, "We're An American Band" deserves some credit too. The song is successfully transposed to Zombie's demented redneck world and his raspy voice, along with his Southern accent makes it as authentic as can be.
Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
ends up as an inconsistent record that most likely isn't going to win the band any new fans. It's heavy enough to satisfy for a short period of time, but Rob needs to revise his lyrics because he'll soon become a mockery of himself. The band brings in some of the best riffs in a while, still the Zombie filter works the same way for more than a decade, with less enticing results each time.