Games Meet Metal: Rob Zombie: Hellbilly 2 Early Review

Click a button to quick-search the awesomeness.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rob Zombie: Hellbilly 2 Early Review

Rob Zombie
Roadrunner Records
Hellbilly Deluxe 2 Review
I’ll be honest. I was not thrilled when I heard “Sick Bubble Gum” the first time around while checking youtube in case riff was unable to get me the review mp3s. The second time around however, I was able to look past the simplistic lyrics and reintroduce myself to the hooky yet heavy grooves of Rob Zombie. This album grew on me fast.

Lead-off track “Jesus Frankenstein” sets the tone for the rest of the album as a heavily but smartly produced, interestingly experimental collection of hooks, catchy riffs, impressive John 5 solos, and Halloween-ready lyrics. Right off the bat, several guitar effects are heard, followed by a great Zombie riff and chorus that consists of the words “all hell, Jesus Frankenstein”. While the classic Zombie sound is heard, we also get a taste of the experimenting going on with acoustic guitar and piano breaks every couple of verses.

“Sick Bubble Gum” keeps things straightforward, with an audio clip from an old movie to introduce the track (most tracks are introduced the same way from here on out) and that simple yet effective Rob Zombie beat mentioned earlier.

“What?” keeps things interesting by taking a riff right out of an indie rock band, fused with the humorous tone of a mid 90s Offspring song in both music and lyrics, and injecting it with a darker RZ approach. This is the first real curveball the album throws, making it one of the more interesting tunes. “Mars Needs Women” continues that humorous tone, this time with a perfected metal beat and a simple chorus. I laughed out loud the first time I heard Zombie yelling “Mars needs women, angry red women” and it’s a pretty good song to boot.

“Werewolf Baby” keeps the outside-of-metal influences coming with a more twangy guitar sound and a low tuned piano in the verse. In theory, you wouldn’t think a mild influence of country pop would work for this album, but it does, and that steel guitar doesn’t hurt a damn bit in practice. “Virgin Witch” keeps the good riffage coming, while returning to a more serious tone with something that sounds a bit like a detuned version of The Sword’s “Freya”, and a classic crunching verse.

“Dream Factory” has much the same feel as “What?”, only with even more emphasis on pop elements, including another indie rock riff and bouncy chorus beat complete with keyboards following the vocals. “Burn” follows it as yet another more straightforward but accessible and enjoyable track, another great beat and simple chorus hook “Papa Ooh Mao Mao” (whatever that means) managing to keep the album still going strong.

“Ceast to Exist” slows things down a touch with a nice bass groove and an alien-sounding vocal effect with occasional acoustic guitar breaks. The spacey lyrics and sound are a stoner friendly touch, and the drums and beat keep other listeners from getting bored, though it does lose enough edge that it won’t likely be the most played track by the listener.

“Werewolf Women of the SS” puts a surf guitar where the steel guitar was in “Werewolf, Baby” and picks things up a bit from where “Ceast to Exist” dragged. The final track, “The Man Who Laughs” takes the most chances with song arrangement, starting with a string section worthy of any classic horror film introduction and exploding into a macabre guitar riff that complements the violins to become one of the best hooks on the album. The result is something similar to one of the better Load/Reload songs found on Metallica’s S&M album. How much you enjoy most of the rest of this ambitious 9 minute track however, depends on how much you like drum solos. I will say as someone who’s typically not a fan of them, the build up to the tribal beat found here is one of the more enjoyable ones I’ve heard and would work perfectly in a live setting. Of course, shaving a few seconds from it on the recording wouldn’t hurt, but maybe that just speaks to how good the main hook is, which you still get plenty of.

Overall, it’s an impressive effort in both classic, crunchy, straightforward Rob Zombie songs and impressively well-executed genre-mashing experiments that are given the Rob Zombie stamp. The lyrics are often ridiculous, but their simplicity and often humorous tone are effective at providing memorable hooks, with the help of high production values, well-managed song arrangements, and respectable riffs. Rob Zombie’s raspy voice is occasionally grating, and this is not my pick for best album of the year so far, but what the album does offer is accessible metal that rarely drags, and when it does it’s more of a slight misstep than anything close to a pitfall. So far I’ve enjoyed it more every time I listen to it.

Pros: Simple but effective music that rarely loses steam,. experimentation with song arrangement works well
Cons: Lyrics can get a bit too simplistic and anti-cerebral
Score: 4 (Rippin')

- GfP

No comments:

Post a Comment