Rob Zombies voice reminds one of gravel. Not the kind that carpets pristine suburban lawns,but the kind that scrunches around tombstones. Its little wonder that in his prolific career as vocalist and frontman of various bands,scriptwriter and director (he created one of the bloodiest movie franchises in recent times,chronicling the lives of the psychotic Firefly family),Zombie has carved out his own niche in the metal genre,fusing together horror,sex and violence in his own inimitable style and finishing it off with some hillbilly sensibilities.
In Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor,Zombies fifth album as a solo artist after the breakup of White Zombie,he continues his roller-coaster ride down mans baser being,clearly having the time of his life. Apart from its progenitors harsh vocals,the album has virtuosos John 5 on guitar and Ginger Fish on drums and percussion (both alumni of Marilyn Manson),Piggy D plucking a mean bass line and Bob Marlette taking some truly sinister turns on the keyboard. Additional drumming duties are performed by sessions drummer Josh Freese.
Given that its a Rob Zombie album,there arent elaborate instrumental solos that metalheads dream of. Instead,Zombie weaves his gravelly notes around a groove metal sound,with audio samples from old horror movies and explicit noises,that have become synonymous with the band. There is more than a hint of techno,with synthesiser beats layered between short heavy riffs and heavy drumming.
The album begins with Teenage Nosferatu P***y,a track so industrial,it could be a mining town all by itself. It naturally progresses into Dead city radio and the New gods of Supertown (which was the first track to be released from the album,and so far the only song with a video) and Revelation revolution. These three tracks are classic Zombie: extremely heavy with a surprisingly catchy,almost playful,chorus and furiously mixed with the audio samples mentioned above. The album then takes a breather with the 62-second sinuous sitar instrumental,Theme for the rat vendor,which while seemingly out of place in a heavy metal album,is actually innocuous to the entire track list. Following this,the album revisits its hillbilly roots,in the tracks Ging gang gong de do gong de laga raga (which despite its arduous name,will probably end up being the track with the most radio play),Rock and roll (which is our personal favorite in the album,with its techno monotone,punctuated with staccato bursts of heavy metal),Behold the pretty filthy creatures! and White trash freaks. Among the latter tracks,Lucifer rising and Were an American band (a Grand Funk Railroad cover) pass muster.
With the album,Zombie firmly announces that his carnival of terror is back on our music systems.