After his directorial output with the grotesque House Of A Thousand Corpses and the utterly dire The Devils Rejects, I had almost forgotten about the brilliant music that Rob Zombie has made. Thankfully he is much better in the studio than behind the camera and this reissue (complete with DVD) is a superior slice of metal pulp.
After Zombie disbanded his group White Zombie, the horror enthusiast and metal head created Hellbilly Deluxe – his crazy solo debut album. It is a superb album that defines the term cult classic, and is a legend in the genre ever if there is one. It is more electronic than his stuff in White Zombie but it still retains a very heavy and darkly atmospheric attitude. In terms of the sound he is much more aligned to the likes of Marilyn Manson than his hero Alice Cooper.
Is he a mad man who likes to pray on the corpses of dead people? Is he a psycho killer with an insatiable appetite for the dead? No, Zombie is just a horror fan who likes to take the baton from Alice Cooper and go for a run with it, scaring a few people along the way. Sometimes he takes his image a bit too seriously and forgets the music but he often does it with a sense of irony that a lot of younger bands in this similar vein forget.
Hellbilly Deluxe is stupendous album and has such awesome tracks as Dragula and Demonoid Phenomenon as its demented offspring. The album gives birth to 13 songs that spark utter madness that even Michael Myers would run away in fear of. Spookshow Baby and How To Make A Monster would scare the crap out of any kind soul. It is only a short album that comes in just under 40 minutes but because it is so heavy and exhaustive it feels much longer, in a thrilling way though.
It was originally released in 1998 so this is not an anniversary set – perhaps it’s an attempt to cash-in on the success of Zombies first two horror pictures, but nevertheless if you have not heard it before then it is certainly worth some attention. The fifties style horror pulp artwork is also quite cool and shows Zombies obsession with the genre in a cheeky and even sentimental kind of way.
The accompanying DVD is a collection of 14 videos, some of which are previously unreleased. It’s a trip through hell and back but in a weirdly fun fashion. It is really an essential collection for fans and a perfect introduction to his insane world for any bold newcomers.
Rob Zombie never comes to the UK enough, which is a shame because a tour or even some promotional work is very much needed. He is a cult God to some and this album proves his worth.