Spin #19: Rob Zombie : Hellbilly Deluxe
Updated: Jul 1, 2022
Band Members : Rob Zombie (Vocals), Mike Riggs (Guitars), Rob 'Blasko' Nicholson (Bass), John Tempesta (Drums) (additional musicians were used but these are the core band)
Rob Zombie : Hellbilly Deluxe Year Released : 1998 Produced by Rob Zombie and Scott Humphrey Label: Geffen Price Range: $50AUD+ Speed: 33 1/3 RPM Album Before : N/A - This is the debut album Album After : The Sinister Urge (2001) Further Listening :Mudvayne - L.D. 50 LP : 1 x Black LP Mood for enjoying: Good one to spin when you need to blow off some steam, go for a run and mosh in your loungeroom! It has some really tense moments that create a monster themed atmosphere well as it transports you into the world of Zombie. Track Listing:
LP Side A
Call Of The Zombie - 0:30
Superbeast - 3:40
Dragula - 3:43
Living Dead Girl - 3:21
Perversion 99 - 1:44
Demonoid Phenomenon - 3:39
Side B Spookshow Baby - 3:39
How To Make A Monster - 1:38
Meet The Creeper - 3:13
The Ballad Of Resurrection Joe and Rosa Whore - 3:56
What Lurks On Channel X? - 2:30
Return Of The Phantom Stranger - 4:32
The Beginning Of The End - 1:52
What's in the Sleeve ? 1 x Black LP in a gatefold cover with insert. There are some really cool graphic novel style art on the inside of the gatefold and on the insert. Also the label on Side A on the record is worth checking out (see in photos below). Sadly there seems to be only a sprinkling of lyrics here and there for certain songs.
" The ragged they come and the ragged they kill! Down in the cool air I can see" ~ Superbeast - Side A
Welcome to Spin #19 - Rob Zombie : Hellbilly Deluxe
I was holding off on this one until Halloween but had the itch of spinning this now. It was late at night and I was sitting watching some horror movies out in the loungeroom when I decided to write this weeks Spin. Because I was pumped up from the horror, I just thought of the first album that came to mind. That was without a doubt this classic album, 'Hellbilly Deluxe' by Rob Zombie. I know that there will be a lot of people who don't like this one and think it's a strange progression after having 'Curtis Harding', 'Mavis Staples' and 'Nothing But Thieves' in recent weeks. Like I said previously, here at R'nR with Rylo there are going to be some weeks that the choices won't be your thing and that's ok. My goal is to broaden your mind and introduce you to a different experience each and every Sunday.
For this listen I have continued using the Sennheiser headphones, so I can play this loud and really feel the eeriness. If this is the first time you are reading our Spin then you might not know that we have a loungeroom set up and a front room set up that we alternate between. We usually choose the set-up depending on the time of day or if our little ones are sleeping or playing. Let me know in the comments or on our socials if you are a Zombie fan and let's bring on the Spookshow Baby!
Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):
As I am getting the LP out of the cover and placing it on the turntable, I am trying to recall the first time I was introduced to Rob Zombie. It would have to be whilst watching the horror themed comedy, Idle Hands with Jessica Alba, Devon Sawa, Seth Green etc. from the early 2000's. I remember seeing the music video of 'Dragula' on the television whilst Sawa's character, Anton was smoking oregano through his inhaler. I remember how powerful that song was and I have my sister to thank again for watching that one with me. We promised each other that we wouldn't write above each others beds, "I'm Under The Bed" in glow-in-the dark ink. (Make sure to watch this movie as it's awesome).
I drop the stylus on 'Hellbilly Deluxe', the first noise heard is the introduction of 'Call Of The Zombie'. Oooooooo it is a really freaky intro to bring in the listener to the world of Zombie's - 13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting inside the Spookshow International (entire title of this album). Not a pleasant listen, being alone in the loungeroom in a quiet house, because they have succeeded in creating a horror experience. If horror movies had no score or music behind them then they wouldn't be as scary, as it's the sounds that really get your blood pumping. This album is like listening to a horror movie without the visuals. Luckily, I don't have a big window that I'm looking out of with a full moon shining through because I'd probably have to end the Spin right then and there. 'Call Of The Zombie' ends and instantly draws you into the start of the first actual song on the album.
I forgot just how many hits this album has on it until I looked at the track listing again. 'Superbeast' comes through the headphones with its identifiable distortion. I make sure I increase the bass volume on this one as the left ear gets the sound briefly before Zombie's vocals come in. He has such a distinct sound and stage persona that just works. I like the pace of this one and the use of the stereo (left, right, left, right). They have crafted a very catchy song that is easy for the masses in the mosh to get pumped up and yell out. It feels like a very polished product by using more electronic sounds and samples throughout. 'Superbeast' is one of those songs that you won't forget anytime soon. "Shriek the lips across ragged tongue, convulsing together. Sing violently, move the jaw, cry aloud. Bound up the dead triumphantly". The song ends with a merge into the bigger hit on this album, which depends on who is reviewing I guess. If you weren't paying attention then you might miss this transition between the songs.
I really like this song and it was the first experience I remember of Rob Zombie (as stated above). 'Dragula' is actually the dragster used by Grandpa in the hit show, 'The Munsters', that Zombie turned up in to attend the MTV music awards in 1998. It was also in the music video of this song that had Zombie driving the dragster towards you - click here to check it out. The guitar work here of Riggs and Blasko blends so well with the electronic beats and drums of Tempesta. By the time Zombie's vocals come in, it becomes slightly stripped back so you focus on his voice. The chorus is just so recognisable and the kick drums gets an absolute belting on this song. Having this song loud through the head phones makes you appreciate the heaviness of it all.
You will need to make sure you turn this one up to ears bleeding levels (safely...).
I did play this record a while ago for our kids after I got home from work to unwind. It was loud and our son was loving it. He has his own little battle vest ready for the circle pits, as he just loves it. I remember him hearing 'Slipknot' for the first time and almost falling off the stool with excitement and running towards the speakers to dance fast on the spot. **Core memory made right there**. It ends and there isn't a whole lot of dead wax on this record as the songs transition nicely.
"Who is this irresistible creature who has an insatiable love for the dead?". That would be the next song, 'Living Dead Girl'. I like the use of samples at the start and the electronic/robot intro saying the song title. Slower pace and beat compared to the first two hits. Still has heaviness but maybe a bit more bluesy metal (is that even a thing?!). I really like the sort of twang in his voice because its a horror/heavy/country mix that just works well. This record is an Audiophile pressing that is really well produced for wax, especially being a late 90's record. Looking through the art work as I am following along, it feels like Zombie should have included a giant poster to put up on everyone's walls . Such an iconic album cover and this song was a huge hit that is still played at live shows.
Next up is a short song, 'Perversion 99'. There are lots of clips/sounds from horror movies across this record mixed with electronic back beats. This song acts as an introduction for the explosive next song. Reminds me of listening to the extra record of 'Mr. Muggs' a little bit from the 'Mars Volta' - 'The Bedlam in Goliath' album. Trippy - check, creepy - check, weird as hell - check.
If you wanted a loud song that makes your hair stand on end like the sound of a feral cat going off in the back alleyway, then the next song, 'Demonoid Phenomenon' is for you. I like the start of this song - it brings your senses to the point of high anxiety before the heaviness sets in. It made me think of people who cringe when they hear the sound of nails scratching on a chalkboard *shudders*. Zombie vocally battles with someone else here -"Hell on Earth, For what's its worth. Dead on dreaming, you started screaming". Probably my favourite song on the album - so pumped up after hearing this one. The bassline slaps! If you have a sound system that can handle heavy bass, make sure to turn this one up to 11. What a way to end Side A!
Time to lift the tonearm and flip the record over for Side B. I notice the different artwork on the label and I like the drawings, especially the one of Zombie himself. All the track listing is on Side B of the label as I start to spin the first song, 'Spookshow Baby'.
It starts off with an Eastern style guitar riff that works into a heavier riff pattern. The vocals on 'Spookshow Baby' are quite drawn out and halfway between spoken and I can only describe it as smokey....not sure how else to describe this one vocally. Can you name a horror themed record that is better than this one right now?. Zombie yells, "She's a killer! She's a thriller, Spookshow Baby!". I like that there are so many different styles and sounds on this record so far. The riffing after the chorus is that chugging style that really draws me in, I'm a sucker for that kind of style.
'How To Make A Monster' is such a quiet song compared to the others and sounds like a song on the radio in your car that wasn't turned up all the way. Another theory is this song is on the radio in the car and the listener is actually in the boot of the car, hence the muffled sound. It's a small filler song that continues the mood without being a standout track.
The next song, 'Meet The Creeper' is catchy and is very easy to headbang along too. I think I read somewhere that Tommy Lee from the band 'Mötley Crüe' played drums on this and the next song. I would need to look up which songs were singles off this album but this feels like it should have been one. A little bit off topic but I remember that the music we used to play as a lullaby for our son was the Mötley Crüe playlist on Spotify, as nothing else worked in getting him to sleep. The song fades out with Zombie yelling, "Meet the Creeper, ahhhhhhhhh" before the trippy next song starts playing.
A much softer song vocally and is designed to suck you in and concentrate on the story that is being told in, "The Ballad Of Resurrection Joe and Rosa Whore". It really feels a bit more like a Marilyn Manson song musically. "Sleep well in your killing bed, give a jig and show some life. Favour for a favour, don't separate the pain from the knife. All the doctors sing, you got to suffer for the cure". Its not as punchy as the previous song but its heavier all around. In parts this album is timeless and in others it is distinctly 90's.
'What Lurks On Channel X?', has a dead wax slow build start with the samples coming through. I like the fast beats and reminds me of something Slipknot would have at the start of one of their tracks with 'Sid' going nuts on the decks. "What is lurking? What is here? What is lurking? What you Fear!" It's another mood continuing song for the album and a nice lead into the track, "Return Of The Phantom Stranger".
This track starts with something reminiscent of what the 'Undertaker' would use whilst walking into the ring. Also, at the same time reminds me of the tune used by Cypress Hill on the song, 'Stank Ass Hoe'. If you get a chance to look at the lyrics to this one, make sure you do because there are some twisted lines. "A wretched heart in the dark decay, dominate forever. Destroy the things you love and see, if I remember". Unfortunately, the insert only has some bits from the song written down, as you will be able to see in the below photos. The riffing of Riggs and Blasko are on point throughout this record and they definitely had a lighting in the bottle moment on this debut. Like Zombie has stated publicly, he didn't think his previous band, 'White Zombie' was a good band. He really believes that he has created a more polished product with 'Hellbilly Deluxe' and I'm interested to hear what you all think.
'The Beginning Of The End' is an instrumental song to end the record that leads nicely into the yet to be released follow up album. It kind of loops itself with similar samples that were used on the start of this album as well. Creating an endless album that is something from your darkest nightmares - similar to a feeling of being trapped in a room with no doors.
As the record comes to an end and the Spookshow is now well and truly over, I make sure to look around the empty loungeroom and make sure that the pile of cushions are cushions and not something sinister. Wow, that was a creepy one and made all the creepier by listening at midnight. I will make sure I check out other Zombie albums as they provide a full experience, that's for sure. I think the next one to check out will be 'The Sinister Urge' as it is hard to find (not as a picture record). What would be your favourite Rob Zombie album?
Well I hope that you enjoyed this week's Spin and I think I'll read, 'Book of Ghost Stories' by Roald Dahl to calm my nerves.
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people with surnames relating to flesh eating monsters and be Kind to your Wax!