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Rob Zombie - "Zombie Live" (CD)

Rob Zombie - "Zombie Live" CD cover image

"Zombie Live" track listing:

1. "Sawdust in the Blood" (1:40)
2. "American Witch" (4:01)
3. "Demon Speeding" (3:33)
4. "Living Dead Girl" (3:25)
5. "More Human than Human" (4:23)
6. "Dead Girl Superstar" (3:12)
7. "House of 1000 Corpses" (4:29)
8. "Let It All Bleed Out" (4:08)
9. "Creature of the Wheel" (3:36)
10. "Demonoid Phenomenon" (4:18)
11. "Super-Charger Heaven" (3:29)
12. "Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy)" (3:06)
13. "Black Sunshine" (3:53)
14. "Superbeast" (4:54)
15. "The Devil's Rejects" (3:59)
16. "The Lords of Salem" (4:19)
17. "Thunder Kiss '65" (5:19)
18. "Dragula" (5:16)

Reviewed by on January 9, 2008

"Rob Zombie has built a bridge to pop culture, through his series of over-the-top movies and his alternative-radio-friendly brand of metal"

This one was a no-brainer. As much as any metal superstar, Rob Zombie has built a bridge to pop culture through his series of over-the-top movies and his alternative-radio-friendly brand of metal. In fact, as a solo act, Zombie has become more of a pop icon than a metal act, and his music has become ultra-accessible to the masses. It is no surprise, then, that Zombie has released a wide-spanning “best of” album extracted from his high-energy live shows.

While Zombie’s recent successes might have removed him from the reverence of more serious metalheads, his roots as the frontman for one of the most influential metal acts of the 1990’s, White Zombie, seal the now 42-year-old Zombie concretely in the canon of heavy metal. If Rob Zombie had chosen to exclude the White Zombie tracks from this live, “best of” album, the metal community could have written it off as just another fluff Zombie release. Zombie, however, made the wise choice to include a nice selection of White Zombie tunes, which not only boost this album’s credibility, but also lift the Rob Zombie songs to a new level.

This type of album relies almost entirely on song selection, and on “Zombie Live,” the quantity of songs allows for a nice retrospective of Zombie’s two-decades of spotlight, including tracks from his first foray into the realm of major record labels, “La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1,” to his most recent album release, “Educated Horses.” Beginning with “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and “Black Sunshine,” (though the tracks do not appear in chronological order) and continuing on to the second White Zombie album, “Astro Creep: 2000” tracks, “Super-Charger Heaven,” “Creature of the Wheel,” and “More Human than Human,” Zombie gives his fans a nice taste of what made White Zombie such an influential metal band. It is a crime that tracks like “El Phantasmo and the Chicken-Run Blast-O-Rama” and “I am Legend” are not present on the album in place of some of the more recent tracks, but it is to be expected. The problem is, Rob Zombie does go too far with the "expected," as he has included his two cinematic companion tracks, “The Devil’s Rejects” and “House of 1000 Corpses” on the album. Not only are these tracks terrible, but they also take away from the vibe and flow of the entire album. Never will the skip button be more sought after than when these tracks come up.

The remainder of the album is filled with Rob Zombie solo tracks. All the usual suspects are present, with “Dragula,” “Living Dead Girl,” “Superbeast,” and “Never Gonna Stop” being the most popular choices. Fortunately, the underrated “Demonoid Phenomenon” also made the cut, as did an energetic version of “Demon Speeding,” off of the album “The Sinister Urge.” Sans the aforementioned movie-tracks, the Rob Zombie songs fit nicely with the White Zombie selections.

“Zombie Live” comes off as a predictable, yet effective album. Anyone who’s been to see Rob Zombie live has gotten a taste of Zombie’s formula—take the most recent stuff, mix in the slightly older Rob Zombie favorites, and throw in a few White Zombie songs for good measure. Moreover, Zombie’s music is tailor-made for live shows, and it does translate fairly well in this album release. If you’re like many metal fans who enjoyed White Zombie, but took a pass on most of Rob Zombie’s solo stuff, this is a great purchase, as it allows you to get a nice package of some of Rob Zombie’s better solo work while still allowing for a good selection of White Zombie tracks.

Highs: Inclusion of White Zombie tracks; quantity of songs

Lows: The movie companion tracks kill the flow of the album.

Bottom line: A nice retrospective of Rob Zombie's work.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)