Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy (Album Review)
Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
Released: March 12, 2021
Rob Zombie // vocals
John 5 // guitar
Piggy D // bass
Ginger Fish // drums
Since the lacklustre reception to and performance of Hellbilly Deluxe II back in 2010, Rob Zombie has decided to not bother with named sequels to his original horror influenced albums, instead exploring a psychedelic angle on his familiar industrial influenced hard rock. The result is a great series of releases with increasingly weird (and lengthy) album and song titles, and some wicked genre-bending. With guitar slinger John 5 still alive and kicking the riffs, Zombie rocks and rolls, backed by the long time touring rhythm sections of Piggy D and Ginger Fish (who must love a frontman who doesn’t throw mic stands at him). Both Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor and The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser were seen as a return to form, if only because they expunged some of the lack luster elements of Hellbilly Deluxe II, and went out of their way to be as weird as possible. So with that in mind, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy is another chapter designed to make Zombieheads lose their shit with headbangers and groove shakers aplenty.
The opening intro track ‘Expanding the Head of Zed’ sets a suitably creepy spookshow vibe, before first single ‘The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)’ gets things off with a disco stomp. John 5 gets room to show off some groovy licks, while the bridge uses scratches and samples, before a goddamn breakdown, complete with pinch harmonics! There is a ton going on, with military drumming at one point and blips at another, but the dense layers add to the chaos, with Zombie’s familiar bellow the guiding light. It really does sound as bonkers as the title implies.
‘The Ballad of Sleazy Rider’ kicks off with a woman saying “you ain’t seen nothing yet” as 5 uses blues licks to again embody the title as Zombie plays the familiar role of boogeyman. There’s a country foot stompin’ hoedown halfway through, because why the hell not? Whilst the core of each song retains the industrial production and power chords that have dominated Zombie’s work since White Zombie, his tendency to embrace different elements of rock music really keeps things a little fresh. Whether his distortion drenched vocals work for you is totally personal taste, as captured on ‘Shadow of the Cemetery Man’, but it has always added to the characters he plays, this one a throwback to the nu-metal groove of his 90s output.
The brief interlude ‘A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared’ is exactly what is says it is, before the fabulously bonkers (deep breath), ‘18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One Way Ticket On the Ghost Train’ (exhale), drops some banjo and thigh slappin’ good times with Zombie in spoken word mode.The uptempo chorus elevates it to ludicrous status, before a key change brings the whole thing home like a very drunk cowboy on a very drunk horse. ‘The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man’ is a great change of pace, uptempo and a ripping riff from 5 that thunders along with punk rock energy. There is some real guitar sorcery too, as 5 elicits all sorts of noise out of his guitar in what could loosely be called an extended solo. Continuing the 5 portion of the show is the instrumental acoustic jam, ‘The Much Talked of Metamorphosis’, a two minute reflective piece in the country tradition.
‘The Satanic Rites of Blacula’ is a shout out for old school fans, as Zombie commands the band to play a ‘da da dada da’ beat, which they promptly nail. He’s talking to himself again, using different tones in his voice. It’s a real blast with a chorus that will go off at gigs. After another instrumental interlude, Zombie starts an acapella chant over a Fish bass drum inviting listeners to “shake your ass” and “smoke your grass”, making ‘Shake Your Ass, Smoke Your Grass’ perfect for a stoner party. It is a full on electro boogaloo rump shaker with a hit of demonic disco on the chorus. ‘Boom Boom Boom’ slows stuff right down with moaning vocals over a soundscape that wouldn’t be out of place on the True Blood or Walking Dead soundtracks. If you find full moons and cemeteries sexy, you’ll dig it, with lyrics about witches “sliding up the broom”, it is a creepy little turn on. I’m not even sure how to explain the instrumental, ‘What You Gonna Do With That Fun Mama’, other than it totally fits the tone of the album. ‘Get Loose’ then closes things out with a return to the thunder Zombie is known for: fat riffs, big drums, vocals drenched in distortion. John 5 drops in an Eastern influence in his leads, while Fish lets loose (pun intended) with a dance beat. For a moment it is 1999 again, before a quiet section leads into the guitar solo and I’m reminded that on album number seven, Zombie has a band that can do just about anything he wants. ‘Crow Killer Blues’ is the realisation of how damn heavy this band can be, as they combine a fat groove riff with enough pinches to make Dimebag proud, and keyboards straight out of the Blue Oyster Cult playbook. It is a seriously meaty track, with lyrics of the apocalypse and murder spewing in Zombie’s unique growl. There is even a brief prog influenced quiet interlude, before ramming things home with another killer riff. It is a hell of a track to leave for last but leaves fans wanting more.
The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy is a hell of a fun ride, capturing a lot of what has made Rob Zombie a mainstay of heavy rock music. The interludes don’t add much outside of vibe, since they rarely transition neatly to the next song, but collectively the tunes have enough variation, whilst retaining the longstanding components of his sound, that make this an album worth dipping into. He certainly knows his way around a hook, and 5’s underrated guitar playing really brings these tracks to life. The weird country and psychedelic influences only add to the mystique of Zombie as a rock n roll character, and elevate this album to a must listen, if only because you’re unlikely to hear anyone else make such an unholy racket quite like this.
Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy tracklisting
- Expanding the Head of Zed
- The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)
- The Ballad of Sleazy Rider
- Hovering Over the Dull Earth
- Shadow of the Cemetery Man
- A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared
- 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One Way Ticket On the Ghost Train
- The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man
- The Much Talked of Metamorphosis
- The Satanic Rites of Blacula
- Shower of Stones
- Shake Your Ass Smoke Your Grass
- Boom Boom Boom
- What You Gonna Do with That Gun Mama
- Get Loose
The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy is out March 12th, 2021 on Nuclear Blast. Pre Order here.
Review By – KJ Draven. Instagram: @kjdraven
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