Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Rob Zombie ~ Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls & the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: heavy metal, shock rock
Label: Roadrunner
Year: 2010
Home: n/a

Members: Rob Zombie ~ vocals
John 5 ~ guitars
Piggy D. ~ bass
Tommy Clufetos ~ drums
Chris Baseford ~ keyboards/programming



The first album, in hindsight I'll call it volume 1, I played so much & so loud my friends & parents probably thought I was crazy. Thankfully, my parents excused my music choices however strange. It was a musical experience all it's own that was too good to not listen to repeatedly. The music was memorable & interesting with a great guitar stomp, the lyrics you could sing along with, it was shocking but not perverse like a lot of heavy metal & it was something new, or at least it was like RZ's former band White Zombie, but clicked perfectly perhaps making it the best Zombie album. The long titled Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls & the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool, arriving over a decade later when a music career at times seemed like an afterthought for RZ, picks up the music with the same feel, industrial plod, B-movie sound effects, corny monster lyrics, shock rock tongue-in-cheek comedic vision ... but, doesn't quite reach the same heights or addictive quality as volume 1. When it comes to shock rock, a style I've always loved, I consider the first album setting the bar than & now. RZ took the Alice Cooper gimmicks & the Marilyn Manson shock into a new direction & became the father of all who would come after, in my book. But, these new grooves don't hit me like the original album. The first album did suffer from monotony as it wore on, but this ends up feeling monotonous very quickly where no song really jumps out like a "Living Dead Girl" or "Dragula" did. It's in the same mold with all the musical variations leaving nothing out including the kitchen sink, even more musically experimental than the first album, particularly cool is the acoustic guitar & piano break in "Jesus Frankenstein" but the instrumentals I could do without. But, the whole ends up sounding more like a soundtrack album than a grinding industrial metal album. It also feels more like one long piece then individual songs. The whole is developed more than the individual. Then there's the lyrics. We're not doing John Lennon here, but the original had some great shock-rock songs to sing with that just stick in your head, but these sounds like RZ has written this type of song so much he's run out of enthusiasm for the topic or anything more to say. At times it feels like RZ had a good idea for a lyric but instead of really developing it out just repeats the line over & over & over ... & it's not really that interesting of a line (i.e. "Sick Bubble Gum"). There's no substance to the shock & that's what makes good shock, not just an idea that's a little off. There was also a more realistic appeal on the first with the characters, but what exactly is a Jesus Frankenstein? While "Werewolf Women Of The SS" sounds too much like a B movie from the 60's. I'm sure it was a great movie, but ... RZ's previous album was in 2006 with the later part of his career dedicated to films & running a record label. This album, a sequel but maybe not really, is like trying to show us he's still a musician at heart, but it feels too cold, too calculated, too on assignment, too by the book, too unenthusiastic. It's an album where I would probably recommend individual tracks but after listens & listens I can't pull any truly out of the mix.

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