ALBUM REVIEW: ‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’ by Rob Zombie

It’s fair to say that horror is the key factor that Rob Zombie bases his creative endeavors around. As well as being a renowned horror movie director, those influences have always seeped down into his solo material, making for a combination of deliberately schlocky film tropes and pulsating alt-metal. On his sixth full-length, the snappily titled The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser though, the lines between grizzled hillbilly and B-movie wunderkind have been blurred more than ever. It makes this album the aural equivalent of a low-budget horror film, with shoddy production, tonal shifts that could cause whiplash and a complete lack of cohesion whatsoever.

But that’s really what makes this album as fun as it is. It’s undeniably hokey, but it feels like every decision has been deliberate in order to reach the closest result to a splattercore flick in album form. The Hideous Exhibitions Of A Dedicated Gore Whore punctuates the album’s trademark sludgy, low-slung guitars with stabs of organs that add to its evil atmosphere, while The Life And Times Of A Teenage Rock God sees Zombie take to his lower vocal range for a grisly, surging monster of a track, and Well, Everybody’s Fucking In A U.F.O sounds like the speed-addicted love child of Primus and System Of A Down. The whole thing rattles by in just over half an hour, only adding to the mad atmosphere that this album evokes. But because of this, it’s so compelling. It’s the sort of short, sharp shock to the system that artists like this should traffic in, and after 2013’s disappointing Venemous Rat Regeneration Vendor, it sees Rob Zombie very nearly back at his highest peak.

But it’s Zombie as a character that makes this album. For a man who’s just passed the half-century mark, there’s still a primal energy to him, but one that seems completely natural. Satanic Cyanide! The Killer Rocks On! and Get Your Boots On! That’s The End Of Rock And Roll typify this – there’s the same snarling dirge to his vocals, but it never feels forced, and there’s a grainy quality that ties them in to the album’s rougher, more natural vibe.

Of course, that doesn’t always go to plan, as on the overly lengthy closer Wurdalak, in which the vocals are doused in high levels of manipulation in an effort that comes off as awkward rather than the intended ominous results. For such a brief album, it can often feel as though moments are wasted in vain attempts to build up atmosphere that fall flat. The two interludes, A Hearse That Overturns With The Coffin Bursting Open and Super-Doom-Hex-Gloom Part One, are prime examples of this – the former is a short, gentle folk piece, while the latter piles on layers of electronics in a way that just feels overly busy. Neither of these tracks serve any real purpose, only really acting as roadblocks to stop the album really taking off at various points.

But even considering this, The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser is a surprising triumph for Rob Zombie. No new ground is broken whatsoever, and it won’t be the album that convinces Opeth fans that this is worthy of their time, but an exercise at preaching to the converted has yielded this impressive, enjoyable metal album. And even with its iffy moments, it succeeds in being the musical counterpart to one of Zombie’s films – uncomplicated and a bit heavy-handed at times, but a whole lot of fun regardless. Except here, there’s probably more of an incentive to return to it after running through it once.

7/10

For fans of: Misfits, Rammstein, System Of A Down
Words by Luke Nuttall

‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’ by Rob Zombie is out now on UMe / T-Bone Records.


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