The Sinister Urge

Rob Zombie

Geffen Records, 2001

http://robzombie.com

REVIEW BY: Roland Fratzl

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/04/2002

After the huge sucess of Rob Zombie's first solo effort, 1998's Hellbilly Deluxe, he took time off from music to concentrate on directing his Hollywood film debut, House Of 1000 Corpses, which was completely in 2000 or early 2001, and due to overly graphic content among other scandals, has yet to see a theatrical release, but that is another story.

After he finished the film he promptly went about recording the debut album's follow up, The Sinister Urge. Seems like he took a bit more time with this disc, and that shows in the improved consistency. Zombie's music isn't exactly diverse or deep, but you can always expect a batch of entertaining, horror themed, metallic anthems. There's nothing fancy or pretentious about this guy, and he's the last person who'd think of himself as an "artist"...he's well aware that he's just an entertainer, and that's all he tries to do - no more, no less. It's a simple formula that he's comfy with, and apparently it's a formula that works with the public as well, judging by the huge sales of his discs.

Like Hellbilly Deluxe and all those White Zombie albums before that, The Sinister Urge basically serves up another tasty blood splattered platter of more of the same industrial tinged Hammer horror inspired hard rock with heavy, shredding riffs, huge beats, and Zombie's gravelly vocals screaming away those very catchy, fist pumpin' melodies that don't say a damn thing about anything. It's really dumb music, but I'll be hornswaggled if it ain't brilliantly fun in its execution. Awesome shit, this is!

The energy and intensity of the music is really addictive once again, and while it may not have the immediately gratifying catchy pop hooks of Hellbilly Deluxe's best songs, there isn't any of the filler present this time around that plagues that first release. There are enough cool riffs and melodies to adequately distinguish all the songs from one another, even if after a while it may seem that there isn't much variation in the overall sound. Pretty solid stuff all the way through.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Feel So Numb" is the big hit that you've likely heard on the radio and in the clubs for the better part of the past year (since the album's release in October 2001), but I think it's one of the weaker tracks here. It comes across as somewhat contrived, like it's trying really hard to be a hit song, whereas most of the other songs sound more natural. The industrial/electronic sounds that give the guy his unique sound are more subtle on this release, but there's still no mistaking this music for anyone, or thing, else. I think "Scum Of The Earth" is probably the best of the conventional, crunchy rockers here, and it was first included on the Mission Impossible 2 soundtrack in 2000. I might as well take this opportunity to say that that is hands down one of the worst films I've ever seen, and that John Woo is a horrid director who relies on all flash and no substance. My intelligence feels quite insulted everytime I sit through one of his films. Back to the album.

The biggest surprise with The Sinister Urge is that there are moments where Rob Zombie actually deviates from his tried-and-true formula for a bit to try something new.

*GASP* *SHOCK* *HORROR*

Yep, "Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)" is mid tempo! And it has (get this) acoustic guitars driving the verses over a chunky beat! And Zombie tries to sing! Still pretty creepy though. It's a good song and a really welcome change of pace, at least to my ears. Before I even got to it, I was thinking to myself about the album so far: "Yah, this is all pretty good and solid, but it's typical. Why doesn't he try something new to break the redundancy?". I figured that I'd get pretty bored of the disc if it was as one-note as most of his past releases, and I guess he felt the same way, thankfully!

Zombie's big blood brother Ozzy Osbourne makes a pretty cool guest appearance on "Iron Head", singing a duet like he did with Lita Ford, only this time with a scary lookin dude with dreadlocks down to his ass. Man those things must smell. It boggles my mind why Zombie wasn't offered a role as one of the Psychlos in Battlefield Earth.

Where's Alice Cooper though?? I would have expected an appearance by him somewhere on this record to be much more likely than Ozzy, as Zombie practically worships the Coop. Oh well, maybe next time...at least they did that awesome industrial duet "Hands Of Death" a few years ago for the X-Files soundtrack.

I also really like the final track, "House Of 1000 Corpses", which is probably the theme song to the movie. It's a 9 minute slow track that just sort of plods along quietly, but crafts a very eerie, suspenseful mood, as the soundtrack to a horror movie probably should. Great song to end the album with, instead of just another loud, in-your-face rock song. I hope he tries his hand at more atmospheric stuff like this in the future, because it's quite well done.

Nothing to say about the lyrics really. Same old stream of consciousness approach with the usual comic book horror leanings. The man, his music, and his image are basically like a comic book come to life. The booklet is of course a twisted and bizarre pastiche of comic culture in vintage Zombie style. We already have enough songwriters out there who like to think that they have deep meaningful messages and lyrics, so we need a few honest guys like Rob around to keep things fun and real. Dig?

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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© 2002 Roland Fratzl and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Geffen Records, and is used for informational purposes only.