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Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (CD Review)

Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (CD Review)Back in my late teens, I remember my grandfather always saying that these were the best days of your life and to enjoy them.  Growing up in the rebellious grunge era of the 1990’s those words were unfortunately lost on me.  I did not feel fortunate in life, and I certainly was not going to listen to an old man who obviously did not know what he was talking about.  I never truly understood what he meant until I hit my thirties.  Growing old simply means more aches and pains, more responsibilities and of course…more bills to pay!   So kiddies, whenever someone says, “these are the best days of your life,” heed those words cautiously.

Looking back at my youth, I also remember the joyous occasions such as the new release Tuesdays of my favorite musical artists.  I remember how pumped and excited I used to get about them.  Whether it was the new Nirvana CD or the new KISS CD, I treated those Tuesdays as my own special holidays.  Often, I would celebrate them much like any other festive holiday.  I would religiously devote my entire day to their arrival.  That meant no workouts, no stressful activities and if I could help, no work that day either.  When you get older, you obviously can’t celebrate things like that anymore.  People look at you strange if you do.  Of course, that does not stop me from scheduling a vacation day or two every so often to check out a new movie or Blu-ray release, but for the most part I have become what I guess you can say…an old responsible geezer who now has priorities in life and obligations to others.  Doesn’t growing old suck?  Don’t even get me started.

Why am I writing this?  Oh yeah…Rob Zombie’s new CD!  See, your short-term memory is often the first thing to go in your elder years.  LOL.  Ever since the news of the CD’s delay last November I have anxiously been counting down the days until its February 2, 2010 release date.  To say I wasn’t giddy as a school boy to hear Rob’s newest music this past Tuesday would be a lie in which I would truly fail a proctored polygraph test.  And I would fail it with pride! 

Rob Zombie exemplifies everything we stand for here at Why So Blu.  From his eccentric contributions in the world of movies and comics, to his 25-year reign as a musical artist, I have followed his every footstep with admiration, passion and the utmost respect for his creative visions.  Little did I know back in the early 1990s, seeing him perform in the White Zombie lineup countless times, that I would owe so much of my success in life to him.  He inspires me to be all I can be and to dig deep down inside to find that courage to attempt new projects in life when everyone else is telling me it cannot be done.  Thanks Rob!  My wife and co-workers may not get you, but I see only greatness and gold in everything you touch and I look forward to one day following your in your footsteps within the imaginative world of film and all the unlimited possibilities and projects that exist as a result.

I could talk forever about my love and admiration for Rob Zombie’s creative work and unique visions that span an illustrious 25-year career, but I won’t.  I will let his music speak for itself.  Many special thanks to Rob’s music publicist and to Roadrunner Records for allowing me to craft and deliver this personal review.  And without further ado…I give to you…Hellbilly Deluxe 2.

Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe 2

Unless my count is off, Hellbilly Deluxe 2 is Rob’s 8th CD release as a solo artist since his official departure from White Zombie in 1998.  Rob has even gone on record as saying this may very well be the last CD he puts out.  Wait!  Before anyone goes running for the window or searches for the highest bridge they can find to jump off of let me explain.  He simply implies that this may be the last physical media he puts out because everything is pretty much going the way of digital downloads.  Who really knows what the future holds.  If this is his last physical release, then I better go out and buy every format that this album is released on because I am here to tell you ladies and gentlemen that his newest album is the real deal.  It prominently features 11 tracks that rightfully stand as some of his best work over the past 25 years.  And in anticipation of this being his last physical CD release, he also recruited the help of some really great artists to beautifully illustrate the paper CD booklet insert.  I have to admit.  It’s probably my favorite CD booklet of all time.  There’s individual artwork to match each CD track.  Ingenious!  Kudos to everyone involved.

Rob’s talented lineup of musicians is the same as when we left him last November in Detroit.  We got the ex-Manson guitarist John 5, the adrenaline fueled Piggy D on bass (you have to see this man in concert…he never stops moving around), the fastest drummer alive…Tommy (as determined recently by the Guinness Book of World Records) and of course the man himself who needs no introductions…Rob Zombie!  I am going to tackle, dissect and dish the goods on all the CD tracks, in their original order, as they appear below.  Let’s get rocking!

 

1. Jesus Frankenstein

What exactly is a Jesus Frankenstein?  I have no idea, but whatever it is, it sounds so good!  The song starts out almost like a throwback to a classic Sabbath tune that may be familiar to some.  But don’t worry; it’s not a rip-off.  Before you know it, about 40 seconds in, its unmistakably Zombie.  This is the Rob Zombie we all know and love, and many complained to have missed in latter years.  There’s no swearing, but its total nirvana as Rob delivers a rock anthem I promise you won’t hear anywhere on commercial radio, and he’s never sounded better.  I love the beautiful execution of the hard rock energy fused with the soothing acoustic interludes.  “All hail Jesus Frankenstein!”

 

2. Sick Bubblegum

“Hey we all know how we’re going to die baby.  We’re going to crash and burn.”  Simply put, I won’t hide my feelings any longer.  This is my favorite song on the CD!  From the moment I first witnessed Rob teaching the crowd this song last November in Detroit to the free sample he graciously allowed our ears to experience on his Twitter page I never once flinched from my belief that this could be my favorite cut off the new CD.  This song is pure rock candy.  It’s not sticky and sweet like Madonna’s candy, but rather rock hard.  Like “Jesus Frankenstein,” don’t expect to see this track on the Top 40 charts, but also don’t be surprised to find it in your Top 10 list of all-time Rob Zombie hits.  Enough said.  Put this one on repeat!

 

3. What?

“I wanna know who you’re meeting in the cemetery?  I don’t have to tell you anything.”  Much like “Sick Bubblegum” above, this may also be one of the finest songs in Rob’s 25-year old catalog and definitely one of his best intros too!  I remember this song fondly from last year as with most songs it usually takes me a few listens to adore and finally fall in love with it, but not this track.  The infectious punch you in the face adrenaline jam did just that.  I was instantly knocked off my rocker and singing along after only my first listen.  For a song off an album that was more than three months away from being released, you could not believe how well received this song was upon the Detroit “rock city” audience.  I have no idea what the song is about, but who cares.  “Rave on with me!”

 

4. Mars Needs Women

It’s just what the title implies.  Mars needs women, angry red women to be exact.  Wow!  I can’t say enough nice things about this track.  The beautiful acoustic intro has me visualizing the tranquil and desolate red Martian surface.  And when the song finally kicks in I can honestly say that I have been mesmerized for a whole minute and a half already.  Rob’s vocals cut through like the sharp knife the clerk at Subway uses to cut my sandwiches.  The marching lyrics and matching guitar harmonies are the driving force of the song.  But wait!  What is that?  Did I hear moans?  Yes, the old Rob Zombie interludes are back!  Listen for yourself!

 

5. Werewolf, Baby!

“They can sense the rhythm of your blood.”  C’mon, what would any good Rob Zombie CD be without homage to the werewolf?  That’s a rhetorical question of course.  Rob Zombie’s vocals hit new and brave dynamics here and the guitar work is extraordinary between the chorus and verse stanzas.  Ever wanted to hear a song about transforming into a werewolf and how thrilling it could be?  If so, then look no further than track number four. 

 

6. Virgin Witch

From the opening church tower bells, to the classic evil undertones this song is a Sabbath protégé.  It’s a little more subdued compared to the first five tracks, but its undeniably Rob Zombie.  From “American Witch” to now the “Virgin Witch,” you can add one more ‘witchy’ title to Rob’s impressive resume.  If I had to pick the weakest song on the CD, then it would be a tie between both this one and track number nine.  That does not mean it’s a bad song by any means.  The song includes a classic metal vibe to it at no extra cost.  Come to think of it, this whole album thus far has had a unique hard rock vibe that is unlike any other Zombie release prior.  I have grown so used to the usual synthesizers and keyboards employed on past Zombie records, but not here.  It’s completely rock’n’roll!  And that’s a good thing!

 

7. Death and Destiny Inside The Dream Factory

With a Ramones-like entrance and a slick synthesized vocal deliverance, I can’t help falling for this quick Hollywood infectious groove.  Piggy D is having fun with the bass line in this track “fo sho.”  Unmistakably, from the lyrics, this song is about the moral decay of celebrities, cinema and Hollywood as only Rob Zombie can dish it.  The two minute and fourteen second song delivers its raw message with carnival-like antics and non-restrictive mayhem.  Pure Zombie fun!

 

8. Burn

Enter the bad-a$$ guitar riff of 2010!  That’s right!  John 5 takes no prisoners on this track and he slays all that oppose him.  If this song sounds a tad bit familiar to all Rock Band artists out there, then that it should.  It was originally released late last year as part of a Rob Zombie three-pack.  It was hard to do, but I resisted the overwhelming urge to buy it last December off the PSN store.  I did not want my first time hearing it to be on a video game.  I mean what if it was edited?  I did not want to take any chances and ruin the experience.  I know.  I am weird like that.  But the wait was well worth it.  This one is among the best songs on the CD.  It’s a quick rocker, but the 3-minute song will keep me busy for hours on repeat play.

 

9. Cease To Exist

I mentioned on track number six that this was one of my least favorite songs on the CD.  I still love it, but it’s hard to rank songs on a near perfect CD release (insert big smile).  I know, life’s ultra hard when everything is near perfect.  The song starts off slow and dreary, almost Ozzy-like in its guitar structure, but it quickly regains pace around the midpoint with an aggressive drum interlude that quickly changes the dynamics of the track.  Zombie’s voice is a bit flanged on this one for my liking, but it is what it is.  It’s not the best song on the CD, but it’s not a disappointment either.  The ending has a very brief hint of Manson-like feel to it.

 

10. Werewolf Women of the SS

This song is pure monster fun!  “Howl, baby howl!”  I repeatedly have a great time jamming to this gem.  From The Munsters-like theme guitar riff to the “Anarchy in the UK” style chorus, I find myself addicted to this quick spirited anthem that easily could have found a home on his recent El Superbeasto video release.  I am not going to spend too much time here.  This song is brilliant, fun and engaging.  Rock out to it and most of all…have fun with it!

 

11. The Man Who Laughs

Hmmm…This one is hard to tackle.  There’s so many genres intertwined here.  There’s a Perry Mason-like intro, with a hint of Dream Theater, and then this really catchy guitar riff accompanied by strings and all.  This is the kind of symphony that’s music to my starving ears.  And just when you think it’s over…enter Tommy for a four-minute drum solo.  I have to admit.  I was skeptical when I heard about this song.  I was even negatively skeptical when I first heard it a couple times.  But you know what?  It has grown on me.  Sure it’s weird to have a drum solo in a song nowadays, whether lone a guitar solo for that matter.  I can’t think of many bands that could successfully pull it off.  Sure it sounded natural to include Eric Carr’s drum solo on the last track of KISS’ Revenge album, but here it still feels alien.  But nonetheless, I support it.  And most importantly, you should too!  It’s a great way to cap off an otherwise phenomenal CD release.  Zombie and the gang come back and save the day with one last measure of the chorus and another syringe of the killer riff that makes the song flow as natural as a hybrid vehicle operating solely on its battery.

 

Well there you have it folks.  I can honestly say that not since its 1998 predecessor, Hellbilly Deluxe, have I ever been this excited about a Rob Zombie release and I hope it’s the rebirth of many more great things to come from him.  I usually end all my reviews with a recommendation of whether to buy or not.  With this particular CD release I’m not only going to recommend a purchase, but I am going to try hard to convey the urgent need to drop everything you are doing right now and run out to the store to buy this with no reservations.  However, for all us responsible adults, in which that daunting task of dropping everything may seem impossible, I have graciously placed some Amazon links below so you can start enjoying the CD instantly without having to wait in any annoying lines.  Either way…it’s a win-win situation to be had!  Final grade: A.

Highlights: “Sick Bubblegum,” “What?,” “Mars Needs Women,” “Burn,” “Werewolf Women of the SS”

 

Visit the OFFICIAL Home of Rob Zombie on the World Wide Web at RobZombie.com.

 Rob Zombie's Hellbilly Deluxe 2

 

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

4 Responses to “Rob Zombie – Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (CD Review)”


  1. Leatherhead

    I’m not going to swear here, but if I could I would say ROCK MOTHER*****…ROCK!

    Awesome CD review on a near perfect Zombie release!

  2. blu jay

    Brian, you’re not growing old, you’re growing up…
    my best to Rob Zombie rockin on

  3. Gregg

    I love the song by song breakdown. ‘What’ is by far my favorite track on the new album and even gives ‘Dragula’ some competition as my number one Zombie tune of all time. Overall, this album takes a sometimes different but welcomed turn from the traditional Zombie sound. For those who haven’t heard the album yet, I’m not saying he’s rapping on this. No, it’s not that drastic of a change. Instead, it’s a slight tweaking here and there and a little bit different, almost classic rock (as Brian accurately stated to me) vibe. Great work to Rob and company on this latest compilation!

  4. Gerard

    “Jesus Frankenstein” is my favorite tune on this album…so far.

    I actually bought the digital download which contains several exclusive bonus tracks.

    It’s a pretty solid album.