Album Review: Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast)

By: Jesse Striewski

When Rob Zombie first dropped the single/video for “The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)” last year just before Halloween, I wasn’t expecting to feel like that 14-year-old kid just getting into albums like Astro Creep: 2000 all over again. But that’s exactly what happened when I finally sat down to listen to his latest solo album (his seventh overall), even if said initial single didn’t peak my interest all that much at the time.

The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy plays just like one of those old White Zombie records, with seventeen (usually) equally long-titled tracks that range from odd samples, instrumentals, ’70s acid trips, and menacing metal riffs. One thing’s for certain, there’s definitely no shortage of eclectic sounds to be found from start to finish.

Tracks like “The Ballad of Sleazy Rider,” “The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man,” and “The Satanic Rites of Blacula” are all straight-forward, disco rock hybrids, while “Get Loose,” “Boom-Boom-Boom,” and “Shake Your Ass and Smoke Your Grass” are near tailored made stripper tunes. But the true highlight comes in the form of the doom-y single “Crow Killer Blues;” not only does it feature an appropriately bleak music video, it also contains some of the best work from (former Marilyn Manson) guitarist John 5 to boot.

There’s no doubt that Rob Zombie’s warped world is not for everyone. But even the most casual of listeners may be able to appreciate what he’s put together here, which is easily some of his best work in years.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Album Review: Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos (Loma Vista/Concord)

By: Jesse Striewski

Although I’m far from the Marilyn Manson fan I might have once been when I was fourteen, there’s still that part of me that will always be intrigued by what Manson does these days. I’m glad I took the time to listen to the band’s eleventh studio release, We Are Chaos, which sees them taking some surprisingly interesting new avenues with their sound.

One thing that has been disappointing about Manson in more recent times is the fact there’s no real “band” to speak of anymore, rather just random, faceless musicians that come and go through the fold. But despite this, Manson finds songwriting help via collaboration with Shooter Jennings, who definitely helps add new dimensions here. The two manage to unleash some dark, Bowie-inspired numbers in the form of “Broken Needle,” “Keep My Head Together,” and the title track.

But the standout here hands-down goes to “Don’t Chase the Dead,” which not only echos early ’80s Ministry, it also features a sleek music video featuring The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus and photographer Lindsay Usich. I always say to go in to things with an open mind, and the same applies with everything here. Give it a chance and you might find something you like.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars