ALBUM REVIEW: Rob Zombie - The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Conspiracy
I can only explain ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ as an eclectic, musical journey through the mastery of an insane genius. There’s musical curveball’s just as you’re getting comfortable, there’s hauntingly vulnerable moments that make you stop and give your undivided attention to what has been delivered but as always there’s that hard sledging relentless beat that Mr Zombie does so well.
Rob Zombie is one of the busiest people in the music industry, it’s been nearly five years since ‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’, in that time he has released two movies and toured relentlessly. There are not many other acts who can deliver what he does, he doesn’t fit into any genre as such. Across his near forty-year music career, Rob Zombie has carved his own niche of shock rock, horror punk, morphed industrial metal and driving entertainment that has fans hooked as they find their own lust of individuality.
We’re introduced to The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy by ‘Expanding The Head Of Zed’, as a ritualistic chant begins, you’re drawn in to the energy and driving heartbeat of the record. We are treated early on to Rob Zombie’s use of movie and interview samples, which, across his career he has flawlessly melded music, interviews and speeches together.
The flow of the early stages of the record is the undisputed hard rock that we have come to expect with his releases, as ‘Expanding The Head of Zed’ finishes with a repeated sample of ‘….to insanity, to insanity,’ we hear the crackle of a needle on vinyl and a sample vocal ‘the demons hate me’. Whilst ‘The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)’ is heavy, it’s almost a musical extravaganza. It’s a diverse piece with eastern influences in the guitar riff at the start along with the percussive tabla, through to hard rock chants within the verses and chorus. The breakdown bassline and tone has an almost ‘Grand Funk Railroad’ feel, with essences similar to ‘Inside Looking Out’ ah man I love that tone. As John 5 wails into the heavy guitar riff and solo, Rob’s vocal slam back in with ‘and the crows will dig your grave, I do not forgive, I do not save’ reminding fans that Zombie always has a way with words and a hook. The track is led out with another musical switch into funk, it’s different but it works.
‘And they can tell us were crazy and we can say, well you haven’t seen anything yet!’ What a way to start ‘The Ballad Of Sleezy Rider’, with hooks and an industrial sound reminiscent of White Zombie days, it’s a nod to earlier elements of his musical journey. John 5’s guitar work is sublime with hints of eighties licks throughout the track.
‘Shadow Of A Cemetery Man’ is a sledging stomper of a track, if you love tracks like ‘Ging Gang Gong’ then this is one for you (and me). The relentless beat that drives through is sure to be a huge fan favourite, I can see this firing up the crowd to surge point at any Spook Show. The intricate breakdown of John 5’s solo into the sample vocal, which sits atop a groove filled bassline from Piggy D, adds a new element to an old recipe showing Zombie can give the fans what they want but still add a new spin.
When I received the record for review something happened during the encryption download, this caused a mix in the listing of the tracks so when I eagerly hit play ‘18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One Way Ticket On the Ghost Train’ was the first track to play, needless to say I was pretty intrigued with what the album was about (when you play it, you’ll understand my confusion). This has become one of my favourites, its so randomly different to his usual style but actually fits perfectly if you look at the creative universe of Rob Zombie and encompass his movies. It’s a high energy, western, blues driven ditty with a heavy distorted chorus. I’m sure if H G Wells had a vision for a theme song for the Morlocks, this wouldn’t be too far off it. I really hope that this track is released for the sole purpose of seeing what Rob would do with the music video.
‘The Eternal Struggles of The Howling Man’ sees the record smash back into sludging heavy industrial rock that we are used to, it drives hard, with a solid rhythm performance from Ginger Fish and Piggy D. It’s got the hard hitting clean breakdowns that make us want more, whilst adding in a seductive seventies funk vibe. John 5 finishes the track with an echoing solo of experimental audio slides and pitch.
As with all Zombie albums, the record is stacked with various interlude pieces which create a varied expedition through the musical mind of Mr Zombie. Most are snippets of licks, sampled phrases and various audio elements but one stood out and for an exceptional reason; ‘The Much Talked Of Metamorphosis’. It’s a resounding, poetic, acoustic ballad, in terms of what John 5 has the ability to play, many will say its quite simple, but that’s what makes it such a noted piece. It’s a truly haunting composition, the woodwind performance cushions the guitar layers adding a classical element to the record.
The classical interlude doesn’t last though and we hear Ginger kicking into ‘The Satanic Rites Of Blacula’ as Rob stops him for more of a precise drum beat, the new beat pounds into what is one of the shortest songs on the record. Whilst it maybe one of the shorter ones it’s a got that punchy edge with fat bass undertones that we love, yet another fan favourite in this one. Rolling straight into ‘Shake Your Ass, Smoke Your Grass’ that heavy rhythm section continues throughout the verses, with Zombie’s lyrics punching into a listeners ears before a fiery filled chorus.
One of the highlights for me on the record is ‘Boom, Boom, Boom’ a sludging, dark, blues number. It’s filled with eerie deep vocals from Mr Zombie, that enraptures the listener, a stand out vocal performance.
Finishing up the record is ‘Get Loose’, opening with that eastern essence that we saw earlier in the album, the track quickly smashes into that industrial element that is synonymous with Zombie. It reminds me of nights in industrial rock clubs back in the late nineties in Manchester, jumping up and down to the hard-core German bands. Not one to rest on the expected, the track ends with a switch into a funked-up version of the main riff, what a way to finish a stellar album.
As with any Rob Zombie album, its always going to be a journey, he’s renowned for experimenting with sound and not being safe. There are not many artists who can still push their boundaries after a career spanning nearly forty years, yet after 4 studio albums with White Zombie and this being his 7th solo album, Rob Zombie has surpassed himself again. He has given fans of all stages of his work, something they will love, the album itself is being released in various formats from todays standard of digital to CD and vinyl but my favourite, he’s brought back the cassette tape! Kids of today will finally understand the correlation of how much a pencil is a necessity to a cassette.
Summed up, I love the album, its one you can easily listen to in its entirety, there is no track I would skip or fast forward.
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
Review conducted for The Rockpit, Australia 10 March 2021