If you’re going to the record store this week in search of a little Halloween Haunting music, you may very well find yourself coming home with a Zombie. Rob Zombie, that is. This is Rob Zombie’s Halloween. His Zombie-A-Go-Go record label debuted this summer with a couple of kitschy, spooky surf music discs by The Ghastly Ones and The Bomboras. An old song from his former band White Zombie appears on the ECW Extreme Music collection mentioned at the end of this column, and his Zombie A-Go-Go label has just released a collection album, Halloween Hootenanny. Last but not least, his own solo album hit the racks a few weeks ago on Geffen. But all in good time. First reviews first:
This hootenany doesn’t feature fiddles, but the kind of surf music (often instrumental) that made old black and white monster movies (and “The Munsters”) so much fun. Echo-drenched guitars twang and vibrate against the snares and bass and warbling organ notes in an frantic, eerieness that’s retro-delicious. The Bomboras and The Ghastly Ones turn up here, and Zombie himself joins the Ghastly Ones at the mic for a hard-edged surf romp called “Halloween (She Get So Mean).” Rocket From The Crypt turn up with a guitar distortion heavy workout called “I Drink Blood” and The Amazing Crowns do a goofy walkin’ bass screamer called “Little Demon.” It’s all pretty garage-raw sounding, but that just makes it seem vintage. The occasional background shreiks and ghostly “oooooohs” dropped into some of the surf riffs don’t hurt either. The album features an intro and outro by a scary looking character called Zacherle and the album graphics look straight out of the ‘60s horror comics scene. Great fun.
Zombie’s first solo disc opens with a devilish child reading a hellish zombie nursery rhyme over a backdrop of thunder and clock ticking. That’s the only bit of slow creepy mood you’re going to get, however, on Hellbilly Deluxe. This is an album that rarely ever gets out of overdrive. Zombie growls his lyrics over a bed of car crash crunching guitars and pounding industrial rhythms. No surf music here. This is the throbbing gristle of Halloween hellion music.
The first track, “Superbeast” is a catchy metallic slam fest that threatens of the pursuits of the undead - “the ragged they come and the ragged they kill,” gargles Zombie as the guitars chug heroically ahead. In “Dragula” he yells about a midnight ride: “dig through the ditches, burn through the witches - I slam in the back of my dragula.” Probably the most intriguing track here is “Living Dead Girl,” which features an Indian interlude, clips of a girl whispering “what are you thinking about” and a pounding chorus about the decadent pursuits of the title zombie. This is the high octane soundtrack of “Creature Features” of the ‘90s. Welcome to Rob’s nightmare.
Halloween Party Mix
If Rob Zombie is just a bit too hellish for you, K-Tel has put together an album for kids that’s not very spooky, but it does have a few fun sound effect tracks — slurping ghouls, creaky boards, ghostly sounds and the like — as well as a cheesy dance mix by Boys II Ghouls called “Club Ghoul” and some old classics — Bobby Pickett’s “Monster Mash, Sheb Wooley’s “Purple People Eater,” The Clover’s “Love Potion No. 9, and Sha-Na-Na’s “Witch Doctor.” There’s also a new rap song from Chubby Checker that rips off Duran Duran’s “Notorious” riff as Checker sings about “Doin The Zombie.” The scary part about this song is that an ex-hitmaker would stoop to this level.
More spooky music: Music from and Inspired by the Movie Bride of Chucky on CMC Records includes a bunch of wicked grinding hard rock and metal tracks, though little in the way of new material. Bride features previously released songs from Monster Magnet (“See You In Hell”) Judas Priest (“Blood Stained”), Type O Negative (“Love You To Death,”) Motorhead (“Love For Sale”) and Chicago’s own Stabbing Westward (”So Wrong”). There are new songs from Coal Chamber and Slayer that appear on the soundtrack but not in the film... As the Chucky soundtrack shows, metallic rock can often set a “wicked” tone for a Halloween, and CMC has also released another collection of hard rock where guitars throb and grind and threaten to explode throughout. ECW Extreme Music includes the Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) Theme from Harry Slash and the Slashtones “This Is Extreme!” as well as White Zombie’s “El Phantasmo and the Chicken Run Blast-O-Rama.” There’s an instrumental mix of Megadeth’s “Trust,” which also includes songs from Motorhead, Anthrax, Monster Magnet, Bruce Dickinson and Kilgore. If that’s not enough for you, CMC has also issued a new double live Judas Priest album ‘98 Live Meltdown with their hits “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” “Living After Midnight” and “Breaking the Law”... But wait, there’s more.
The original scary heavy metal stomp rock band, Black Sabbath has a new disc out. Reunion, on Epic, documents the band’s Birmingham, England reunion show on Dec. 5, 1997 with Ozzie Osbourne, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward and Tony Iommi. Yep — what could be scarier than the guy known for biting the head off a bat onstage shrieking again with his old Black Sabbath pals (well, for this show, anyway)? Ozzie and the band kick through 18 songs, including “War Pigs,’” “Sweet Leaf,” Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, “Iron Man” and Paranoid.”
So there you have it. Grist for a spooky surf, raucous industrial metal, heavy metal or Purple People eater oldies Halloween. Turn down the lights, turn up the volume and say boo!