Rob Zombie has been more of a film director than a musician for the past half-decade or so. Hellbilly Deluxe is Zombie’s first album since 2006’s Educated Horses. In between albums, Zombie put out two Halloween movies, an animated film, and directed an episode of CSI: Miami. In his grand return to music, Zombie takes his love of campy horror films and applies it to his groove metal roots.
On the album’s first single, “What?”, Zombie uses old horror film dialogue clips to set the tone. The track is a dirty rock ‘n’ roll track similar with its main guitar riff clearly rooted in blues tradition. Zombie’s vocals are distorted and there are lightly heard keyboards in the background of the track. The song may be one of the poppiest of Zombie’s career, but that’s not exactly true of the whole album.
The album’s second single “Sick BubbleGum” is a little more what the public is accustomed to hearing from Zombie. The track is an in-your-face metal track whose chorus lyrics seem to simply be comprised of “rock motherfucker” and “chew it up/spit it out/sick bubble gum”.
The album’s main weakness is its monotony. Its the same type of song that we’ve heard Zombie writing since the late 80s: chugging guitars, Zombies patented “yeah”s and growls, and many grindhouse horror references. “What?” stands out because it is the least like anything Zombie has done before, but its also the catchiest. Other songs like “Jesus Frankenstein” and “Mars Needs Women” give us all the campy horror references without any of the redeeming musical qualities.
Overall, the album may appease Zombie’s die hard fans but it does not sound like the kind of effort that will win him any new ones. The album has some good tracks, but no real Zombie classics.