ALBUM REVIEW: Rob Zombie – ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’

Words by Shannon-Lee Sloane {The Colourful Writer} 

My earliest memory of Rob Zombie is from when I was around 15. I was browsing my favourite music shop in the Brisbane city on a Saturday morning. Skinny’s had a musty kind of smell to it as you walked down the stairs past the walls plastered in gig posters and new music posters. I was always excited (in my teenage angst filled way) to step inside and see what was new and what I would spend my pocket money on that week. On this occasion, it was to be a limited edition CD single with a bonus badge/pin on the front. It was White Zombie More Human Than Human and from that moment and that purchase, I was hooked. Sadly the CD and badge went missing somewhere over the years of shared living with some ‘interesting’ flat mates and in some ‘interesting’ QLD homes that were falling down around me as I resided in them, probably additionally shaken by the loud levels at which I cranked bands like White Zombie. But I digress, I am here to talk about Rob Zombie and the unique, unmistakable and enamoring sound he creates through his music and entire vibe. To me, as a young teen girl, it was like nothing else I had heard at the time. Back then, as much as I do today, I loved music that seemed to stand out from the rest and really grab my attention. Zombie achieved this in the extreme. 

Fast forward from my teens and many moons into the future and here I am tonight, listening to the latest offering from Rob Zombie – ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’, his seventh solo album. There is a certain nostalgia in it for me, as it takes me back to my youth. But it also brings with it a new flavour, and I listen to Zombie’s work now with a more mature appreciation. It’s not just music I can zone out to or rock out to (though it is still that too), it’s more than that and I appreciate each and every element of it. From the musical soundscape to the spaces in between. 

Rob Zombie has solidly planted himself in the music and entertainment world with his early days in White Zombie, to his solo career to his other creative endeavors such as making films with cult-like followings. I could spend a heavy chunk of time talking about all his amazing achievements and his incredible talent. But those who know him, already know how much of a mad genius he is. So let’s focus on the album I am reviewing.

Rob Zombie’s sound is an eclectic mix of industrial, metal, shock rock with hints of punk, gravelly vocals, sound effects, spoken word and voices chanting in devilish tones. With each track on the new album floating from a focus on the music itself to the vocals to the sounds in between; layer upon layer. A born entertainer, Zombie brings the world something incredibly special and his latest album offering is an onslaught of pure Zombie goodness; a soundscape of musical madness. 

Behind Zombie is his equally outlandish and talented band, with John 5, Piggy D and Ginger Fish all combining their powers to create a well put together list of tracks. Opening with Expanding The Head Of Zed, 54 seconds of chanting, warped sounding spoken word and a heavy solid beat and the word ‘insanity’ mentioned more than once, this sets the vibe quite clearly for the album. The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition) displays the melding and meshing of the relentless layers and elements of sounds and energies that Zombie is well known for. Featuring riffs, samples, echoing words and all the while a dark, deep entrapment of sounds, drawing listeners in. This was the first single to be unleashed from the album and is a perfect introduction. 

“And they can tell us we’re crazy and we can say ‘well you haven’t seen anything yet’” The Ballad of Sleazy Rider again displays an array of genres and sounds, with this one giving some real country vibes and some 80’s too, along with a slightly nerve grinding “rambalamba” repeated throughout. Hovering Over the Dull Earth is like a little intermission of celestial like sounds and then it’s into Shadow of the Cemetery Man. Greeted by the familiar gravel-like vocal from Zombie and an upbeat sound overall. This one moves and grooves. 

A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared is another in between moment, blink and you’ll miss it, though it needs to be there, like everything else on the album, it’s an important transition onto the next full track. 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket On the Ghost Train begins with a feeling of being on board that ghost train, with again, a country sounding energy, complete with train whistle sounds and a twang in Zombie’s voice. It’s boot stompin’ and boot scootin’ but it’s still somehow dark. The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man is a driving force of a song, the pace picks up here “All right all right all right!” with impressive guitar work from John 5. This was the second single to be released. It slows down somewhere in the track and the funky, groovy bassline from Piggy D gives me early 90’s funk and groove vibes. Then flows into some early 70’s ‘Dazed and Confused’ vibes. What a scattered yet delightful journey. I feel like Slater would be impressed: “That’s what I’m talkin’ about man”.

Slowing things right down with almost classical style guitar playing with The Much Talked of Metamorphosis. Another intermission of sorts. A moment to breathe. Reflect. Where on earth will we be taken to next? The Satanic Rites of Blacula sounds like a recording of a band practice, with spoken instructions for drum beats and an overall kind of messy but well constructed feel. Shower of Stones a brief alien-like section and next it’s Shake Your Ass-Smoke Your Grass “Well I don’t need your Jesus freaks, well I don’t need your thought beliefs, well I don’t need your saving soul, well I don’t need your mind control…” I love the lyrics to this one. It’s heavy groove rock with lyrics that resonate. It’s a highlight from the album for me. Boom-Boom-Boom echoes with dark and twisted almost robot-like vocals. That low vocal range is something else, “Boom Boom Boom, the witch is in the room…” haunting. 

What You Gonna Do with That Gun Mama gives me huge Machine Gun Fellatio vibes. I am back at the Arena in Brisbane in the early 2000’s, drunk on cheap shots and warm beers and having the time of my life. So THAT was unexpected. Get Loose with it’s Eastern influence sounds, thick riffs, hard hitting drums and then that industrial vibe layered in also, is a glowing display of all things Zombie-fied. It’s a wrap up to an album that took me on a pretty warped but much welcomed, loved and thoroughly enjoyed journey. 

Pre-order ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ via iTunes HERE.
The album is out tomorrow, Friday 12/03/2021 via Nuclear Blast.

‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ Track list:

1) Expanding the Head of Zed
2) The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)
3) The Ballad of Sleazy Rider
4) Hovering Over the Dull Earth
5) Shadow of the Cemetery Man
6) A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared
7) 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket On the Ghost Train
8) The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man
9) The Much Talked of Metamorphosis
10) The Satanic Rites of Blacula
11) Shower of Stones
12) Shake Your Ass-Smoke Your Grass
13) Boom-Boom-Boom
14) What You Gonna Do with That Gun Mama
15) Get Loose

Rob Zombie – vocals
John 5 – guitar
Piggy D – bass
Ginger Fish – drums

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With thanks to Nuclear Blast

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