Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reviews: Metal Edition Part 2

Two metal acts: one that has just signed to Roadrunner Records and the other having left there because of unfair financial parameters. These two acts are also going in opposite directions as far as quality of music.

Rob Zombie
Hellbilly Deluxe 2

Such is the case with his movies, Rob Zombie should avoid sequels in his music. As poor as 2006's Educated Horses was, this album is far more vanilla. Like Marilyn Manson, Zombie has painted himself into a corner with his image that he feels he needs to live up to that he becomes a caricature. It should come as no surprise then that John 5 returns as his guitar ingenue. 5, of course, was just a guy in a long line of Manson guitar foils. He is, actually, a capable guitar player and the only bright spots of the album are when Zombie manages to fit within the sonic landscape John 5 creates ("Cease To Exist,") and where his guitar abilities shine through (the Grindhouse-inspired "Werewolf Women Of The SS,"). Many of the songs are disjointed with no flow at all and just sound like a White Zombie tribute band with original music. This album was supposed to be some kind of return to form but is really just what Rob Zombie does in between terrible movies nowadays. He has said that this is probably the last physical album he will be releasing and that's a good thing because that'll be less fodder for landfills.

Track Grades:
  1. Jesus Frankenstein - 5.7
  2. Sick Bubblegum - 4.4
  3. What? - 5.4
  4. Mars Needs Women - 2.8
  5. Werewolf, Baby! - 6.0
  6. Virgin Witch - 4.7
  7. Death And Destiny Inside The Dream Factory - 5.8
  8. Burn - 4.6
  9. Cease To Exist - 8.1
  10. Werewolf Women Of The SS - 7.8
  11. The Man Who Laughs - 4.1
Overall Grade = 5.40

Fear Factory
LP/CD/Boxed Set

I was very excited upon learning that this album marked the return of founding guitarist Dino Cazares. I was a little less enthused to find that this was not a full-blown reunion as bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and (one of metal's best) drummer Raymond Herrera would not be joining Cazares and singer Burton Bell. One other cog from the previous lineup remains as Byron Stroud mans the bass as he did when Wolbers moved to guitar. But the pleasant surprise is how Dethklok drummer Gene Hoglan manages to fit in and not miss a beat (ha!). The machine gun assault is firmly intact.

When breaking this down, the thing that sticks out the most is how much Cazares's arranging was missed. Wolbers had tried admirably to ape his guitar style but they didn't have all the different parts to songs that Cazares created. Mechanize is not the caliber of the classic Demanufacture but it is their best album since 1998's Obsolete and they didn't have to resort to covers for airplay. This album still may not see any airplay but that doesn't discount the fact that Mechanize is a tour de force and a new beginning for this "Fear Campaign,".

Track Grades:
  1. Mechanize - 7.8
  2. Industrial Discipline - 8.4
  3. Fear Campaign - 8.7
  4. Powershifter - 8.5
  5. Christploitation - 7.2
  6. Oxidizer - 7.4
  7. Controlled Demolition - 8.1
  8. Designing The Enemy - 8.3
  9. Metallic Division - 7.3
  10. Final Exit - 8.6
Overall Grade = 8.03

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