Rob Zombie has been around the genre of metal for a very long time. He was the lead singer of the metal band White Zombie until he dropped his solo debut in 1998's Hellbilly Deluxe
. This is the third studio effort by Rob, and it sounds like he's just tired. This album has many bland and boring songs, as well as one particular radio sellout. Pre-release, Zombie was saying that this was going to be his heaviest release yet. This album is anything but that. Many songs are very quiet, and some even have Rob pulling out the acoustic guitar. Even the supposed "heavy" songs will not be too heavy for anyone's tastes.
Rob Nicholson (Blasko): Bass, Backing Vocals
John Lowery (John 5): Guitar, Additional Bass, Backing Vocals
Tommy Clutefos: Drums, Backing Vocals
Robert Cummings (Rob Zombie): Vocals
The instrumental parts are not mind-blowing technically, but they are at least adequate. Tommy Clutefos delivers some nice little drum fills, such as the one at about 2:03 in 17 Year Locust. His beats are not terribly creative, but he does forge a very catchy one on The Scorpion Sleeps. Blasko isn't that big a part of this album, he is mostly kept in the background. He does perfectly fine, he just isn't one of the highlights. John 5's riffs aren't technically incredible, but they are more than adequate. When he wants to, he can create really fun and catchy riffs. There is also some sitar playing on this album, which adds a really nice touch. 17 Year Locust and Devil's Rejects both feature a sitar. The high point for this instrumental group is Sawdust In The Blood, which is an instrumental intro to the album. While it is under two minutes long, it sounds so incredibly cool, with the pounding drums and the lonely piano.
Of course, the main man in this album is Rob Zombie. His lyrics, although a bit clich�, manage to be rather poetic in sections. One of his best lines comes from the American Witch: "Alone on the hill and ready to die, cancer of darkness - blacken eye, the mark of the wolf and the sign of the calf, angels bleed down above the raft." While his topics are terrible clich�d, line for line his lyrics are not bad at all. His vocals are, well, okay. He really only has three styles, which are the midrange shout, the gruff singing voice, and the low, creepy voice. Unfortunately, he doesn't have many individual vocal style changes during the songs. For example, The Scorpion Sleeps is a gruff singing song, where as Lords Of Salem is a midrange shout song. Gone are the days of Dragula, where he would change vocal styles constantly throughout his songs. His vocals get a bit tedious towards the end of the album.
With all of that in mind, this album doesn't have much time to exhibit all of those qualities. It has a running time of under forty minutes, which is just too short. There are two instrumental interlude tracks, which means there are only nine songs that average about four minutes each. While albums like Mezmerize manage to fill that time with furious, thrashing energy, this album meanders around considerably, stretching its time to reach the thirty-nine minute mark. It makes you wonder if Rob Zombie was too busy making his horror movies to take time to record a full album.
No song really stands out as great on this album, there are many average to good ones, and just as many bad ones. Lead single Foxy, Foxy is a disgrace. This song seems to be a desperate cry for radio play, a near complete sellout by Rob Zombie. There are really annoying electronic vocals throughout the song. John 5's riffs are relatively simple chord progressions that do more to accentuate Rob Zombie's vocals then stand on their own. The drum set is just a metronome on this song, doing nothing besides keep time. Rob coos "Don't you want do ride it, the educated horses?" and "Foxy, foxy, what's it gonna be?" repeatedly throughout the song. His vocals are very soft and meandering, they carry no sense of direction or purpose. This is basically Rob Zombie selling out for radio play, nothing more.
There are two songs that stand out from the crowd on this album, and they are 17 Year Locust and The Scorpion Sleeps. 17 Year Locust is relatively slow, with that cool sitar that I talked about. Blasko's bass is really great on this song, John 5 steps back in points and lets him take over. There is someone clapping in the background in the song, and it actually adds to the atmosphere. The chorus is as dark and atmospheric as you could expect Rob Zombie to be, and Rob Zombie has a nice vocal performance. Overall, it's a good, dark song.
The Scorpion Sleeps is the king of this album. Really cool percussion opening, again with clapping. John 5's riff is insanely catchy, and very enjoyable. Rob Zombie is singing in this song, and it's probably his best vocal performance of the album. The catchy chorus is repeated often throughout the song. This should have been the lead single instead of Foxy, Foxy. It is perfectly suited for radio play, with an upbeat atmosphere and a catchy melody.
The first half of the album is where Rob Zombie put songs that he was sure would be well received by the mainstream fans. The second half is darker, louder, and much more experimental. Let It All Bleed Out and Lords of Salem are both loud rockers, with punishing riffs from John 5. Let It All Bleed Out contains a short but cool solo. Unfortunately, Ride and The Death Of It All are quite boring.
Overall, this is an average industrial album from the industrial king, Rob Zombie. The main strike against this album is there is no song that you can seriously listen to extensively and enjoy on a level besides "well, that was a cool, catchy song." The songs on this album seem quite shallow. Despite that, there are some songs that you will listen to for a while and enjoy. I would recommend downloading individual songs instead of buying the whole thing.
-Experiments with slow songs
-Some good individual songs
-Songs are shallow
-Rob Zombie's vocals
The Scorpion Sleeps
17 Year Locust
Let It All Bleed Out