Rob Zombie has been a hit or miss artist for years now. At least for me, nothing he ever produced musically after 2001′s The Sinister Urge has been as solid as his late White Zombie work and early solo releases. That’s not to say he’s put out bad albums or singles, it just felt like nothing had that spark or focus that his earlier output had. Perhaps directing was a distraction as well considering that Sinister’s… follow up Educated Horses took almost 5 years to materialize and Hellbilly Deluxe 2 came 4 years after that. That said and with only a 3 year wait, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is solid proof that the focus has shifted to the tunes once again and that fire is back with a vengeance.
Beginning with the evil dirge that is “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy”, Venomous… already sounds like a vast improvement over HD2 thanks in part to former Marilyn Manson drummer Ginger Fish who makes his recorded debut with Zombie on this album. The thunderous mechanical syncopation that Fish brings to tracks like the organ-laden romper “Revelation Revolution” (Also featuring some sinister fret work from John 5) and “Behold, The Pretty Filthy Creatures” harken back to the Astro Creep 2000/HD 1 Rob Zombie/John Tempesta collaborations. Another nostalgia soaked track, “Rock And Roll (In A Black Hole)” embraces Zombie’s electro-rock roots and give nods to La Sexorcisto Vol. 1 and “The One” from Escape From L.A.
Single “Dead City Radio…” is the only song that I feel is a disservice to the rest of the album. It’s a great, hooky track but it is no means indicative of the rest of Venomous…. because after that song is over you have the instrumental Middle Eastern-tinged “Theme For The Rat Vendor” taking the album in a completely different direction followed shortly by “Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga” which might sound ludicrous on paper but recorded, it’s a downright evil sing-a-long inducing anthem. Hell, even the cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re An American Band” fits like a glove on Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor and segues nicely into some nasty closing numbers like “Lucifer Rising” and “The Girl Who Loved The Monster” featuring the most epic Rob Zombie breakdown of all time.
Rob Zombie is back. Be afraid. Be very afraid. Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is out on April 23rd.