Review Summary: The Lunar Injection... is too busy focusing on the finer details, it forgets to make decent songs.
It’s clear that The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
is a by-product of today’s music industry. It’s also completely indicative of where Zombie’s headspace is at these days. To paraphrase a sentiment he’s stood behind for the last decade: “People don’t buy records anymore, so fu-k it.”
During most interviews from the last ten years, Rob Zombie can be heard laying down this mantra, slouched in a chair sporting his shaggy dreadlocks, tatty denim jacket, and brown-tinted aviator sunglasses. He deploys the issue with a typically casual and laidback disposition – as if the problem comes off his shoulders like water off a duck’s back – but it’s blatantly apparent the topic has been the bane of his music career for some time. Then again, it’s hard to argue with his assessment on the industry today either; after all, in 2021 music lovers consume large volumes of music with an almost insulting indifference when compared to how music was listened to back when Rob was a wee lad. In the days of yore, music enthusiasts were seen to be scrimping and scraping to buy that one
album they desired to hear so much. Getting the admission fee was only one part of the task though, after that they had to go down to their local record store and physically buy the LP before their dreams could be met.
So, where am I going with this? Well, the culmination of exerted effort and the use of one’s own valuable resources creates a high incentive to wear the hell out of the album you just spent all that time getting a hold of. Suddenly, the utmost attention goes into every guitar note, lyric, drumbeat, and vocal melody until there’s nothing left to explore in it anymore. That’s what the “album experience” is. However, with the fast-food approach to music consumption in the modern day, that experience has diminished significantly, and I do believe it has affected Zombie’s own work and his outlook to some degree, as it’s clear he is an avid music listener himself who misses the slow, treasured art of listening to an album. But therein lies the irony, because if you were to sit down and apply the concept of consuming every sonic crumb a record has to offer, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
and The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
– particularly the former – would present a very brief exercise in this regard. That’s because as far back as Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
, Zombie and his cohorts shifted the paradigm to gimmicky experimentation, self-contained singles, and music videos rather than crafting cohesive, multifaceted albums. After all, what’s the point in putting all that time and effort into a seamless opus for it to go squandered on someone half-listening to it in the background while they’re scrubbing the grout on their bathroom walls.
I’ll admit that Zombie’s penchant for experimentation and pithy songwriting in recent years has opened up an interesting door for the band to explore, however the problem in guiding those broad, eclectic ideas into a coherent and enjoyable experience is an entirely different matter. The Electric Warlock Acid Witch…
in particular had some great ideas at the heart of it, but it was so badly pieced together it was like a week’s worth of leftover meals being emptied into one big bowl of bizarre tasting gruel. Unfortunately, to the surprise of no one, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
follows in the same vein as that record, only the results are far more insidious than even I could have imagined. This is hands down the worst album Rob Zombie has ever made. It’s also the worst album John 5, Piggy D, and Ginger Fish have ever been involved with. The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
oozes complacency on every level: at best, the album is achingly derivative, at worst it’s an utterly jarring cringefest – caused primarily by Rob’s creature-feature inspired lyrics and half-arsed vocal takes. The annoying thing is, when “The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)” landed on Halloween last year, I was pleasantly surprised by the band’s mixture of rooted industrial-heaviness and breezy, nonregional experimentation. It had the gnarly power of his earlier works sitting in unison with the contemporary grindhouse production style of recent albums and just enough eccentric flavour to add colour to the track, overall. It’s a shame, then, that none of that represents the other sixteen tracks here.
John 5 has never really spread his wings during his time in Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie, so if that’s as far as your knowledge extends to on the matter, know that he’s one of the most articulate virtuoso guitar players in the game today; he’s a very expressive guitarist who uses the instrument as an extension of his own body, never more apparent than on his interesting and emotive solo instrumental albums. However, his playing and merits as a composer for Rob Zombie have regressed to egregious levels as the band shuffle from one album to the next. The songwriting here is insultingly paper thin, derivative, and alarmingly recycled. John 5’s prowess continues to sit on the backburner, offering only the most soporific structures, rhythms, and generic hard rock riffs and solos. Hell, where credit was given to Ginger Fish’s drumming last time around, even that fails to step up to the mark here, delivering only the bare minimum; and musically speaking, that’s the biggest problem with The Lunar Injection…
. When the album isn’t throwing in some wacky left-field element that doesn’t work, it’s only offering entry-level rock riffs that have been so overused at this point it doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s a prime example of a band running exclusively on autopilot.
Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
is one of the best albums Zombie has ever produced, which would probably explain why every album since has tried to capture its kooky personality. Simply put, this iteration is dead on arrival and is built solely on ticking boxes; it’s a shallow imitation of that album’s character, and the whole thing ends up feeling like an iffy deja vu. Echoic to the grainy sound samples and grindhouse aesthetics of the last two albums, only none of it flows well here or comes into fruition to serve a greater purpose. It’s all in there because… well, it’s Rob Zombie and that’s just what he does. Everything feels artificial, and only when you get to those awful DJ scratches or “18th Century Cannibals…”’s painfully superficial country-inspired verse, backed up by Rob’s hideous distorted barks, will you realise what a complete farce this all is. Zombie himself doesn’t make things any easier either – the guy plays a pertinent role in throttling these prosaic numbers with clunky and cringe lyric arrangements, coupled with stupendously tacky hooks.
I don’t take this stuff lightly; I’ve been a fan of Rob Zombie’s and the individuals within this current line-up for over twenty years, and all things considered, never have I come across a project from any of them this flaccid or uninspired. Sure, it’s not outright unlistenable – it doesn’t elicit downright contempt over what it does – but the thought of going into another album in the same vein as their last one, only worse, fails to draw a great deal of enthusiasm out of me. With a hackneyed focus on forcibly juxtaposing several random styles into their main rock sound, the stupidly long track names, and the uninspired hard rock instrumental work we get on here, essentially the album comes across as a tasteless meme. I get and even agree with a lot of what Rob says about the music industry today, but this outlook has warped his perception into thinking nonregional music means throwing sh-t at the wall and seeing what sticks. As an album, the songs don’t work well together, but equally, who would want to listen to these songs individually either?