Most of Rob Zombie’s albums have had a few great tracks that have a beat that’ll get lodged in your head for a good while and a few tracks that a more atmospheric than rock music; his latest effort, Hellbilly Deluxe 2, doesn’t entirely buck that trend, but it is another strong effort.
The album was entitled, in-full, Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool because Zombie felt it had a similar vibe to his 1998 debut solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International. It is Zombie’s first album since 2006’s Educated Horses, but he hasn’t been lounging much—he’s directed two Halloween films and an animated feature, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.
The album’s first track gets things moving with a steady bass drum beat, followed by Zombie’s voice which is unlike any other in music today. A few creepy piano sections, with a beat reminiscent of the eerie Halloween soundtrack appear as well.
“Sick Bubble Gum” is one of those tracks that you’ll be dancing to all day. Just don’t sing the refrain too loud in mixed company. I’m not entirely sure what it’s about, but I don’t think it’s Juicy Fruit.
“What?” is the album’s best track, after an shot intro, presumably from one of many B-horror films that influenced Zombie into what he is today, the song doesn’t look back. The refrain—“Vampire lovers in palm bikinis said / On and on and on and on / Cannibal man and the jungle girls say / On and on and on and on.”—is proof that being Robert Frost isn’t a prerequisite to writing a catchy tune. Driving music at its finest.
The next three tracks aren’t the best, but they’re good enough to listen to and get to the final tracks, where the album picks up once again.
“Death And Destiny Inside The Dream Factory” is another with a standout beat and fun lyrics.
“Burn” is a little slower, but is another solid track. It’s got another refrain to hum along to, “Papa oom mow mow / Papa oom mow.” Uhh, guess you have to hear it.
“Cease to Exist” has a good, though short, instrumental section. “Werewolf Women of the SS”… how is a song with a title like that not fun? Good guitar solo.
“The Man Who Laughs” does a few things. It starts as a pretty decent song, then about four minutes in it goes into a multi-minute drum solo. Not all that expected from Zombie, but it works quite well and would be something to look forward to live. After the solo, the song kicks right back in, but ends shortly after.
The subjects of his songs might be a turn-off for some people, but this is heavy metal from a B-horror film enthusiast we’re dealing with. The beat is where it’s at.
For the most part Zombie is sticking to the formula he’s had for years, but that’s a good thing. The drum solo is a sign that Zombie is willing to keep things fresh, and that is also a good thing.
Originally published on February 10, 2010.