Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser (3 stars)

Horror-metal auteur's sixth album is full of surprises, but a little under-developed

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Rob Zombie: The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser

Even in the worlds of metal and horror Rob Zombie is a divisive figure; praised as a dreadlocked visionary and lampooned as a horror hack. What prompts this reaction is that Zombie is the very definition of an auteur. In a career split between shock rock outrage and directing lurid ultra-violent movies, every release is unmistakably the product of a singular fevered mind. He's the centre of his own self-perpetuating micro-scene, the trashy electro-thrash anthems feeding into his gore-soaked grindhouse features, and vice versa. What most critics miss is the wicked gallows humour running through all Zombie's best work, especially debut album Hellbilly Deluxe and blood-drenched feature film The Devil's Rejects.

The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser is a pick and mix of Zombie staples: retro horror samples, industrial electronics, sound clips and grinding guitars. After a stuttering mischievous start his sixth solo album finds its groove on 'The Life And Times Of A Teenage Rock God', which snarls with growled vocals, plinky beats and the ragged call to arms 'all the freaks come worship me.' Zombie transforms into a manic MC on the hyper-drive scuzz rock of 'Well, Everybody’s Fucking In A UFO'; 'Medication For The Melancholy' is a turbo powered burst of heavy metal noise pollution; 'Get Your Boots On! That’s The End Of Rock And Roll' (nearly every track title has an absurdly convoluted title) is a furiously bouncy glam metal stomp. The weirder snippets are even more interesting, 'A Hearse Overturns With The Coffin Bursting Open ' surprises with its acoustic simplicity; 'Super-Doom-Hex-Gloom Part One' offers a sci-fi riff on John Carpenter's synths.

Only the closer 'Wurdalak' clocks in over three minutes. Each song is a short, sharp sonic assault. This smash and grab ethos partially works, continually offering new tastes and surprises, but conversely it sometimes feels unformed and underdeveloped. Electric Warlock … is initially baffling and confusing, an equally frustrating and frantic information overload that further cements Zombie's day-glo horror credentials.

Out on Fri 29 Apr Zodiac Swan/T-Boy/Universal Music.

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