The 20 greatest Rob Zombie songs – ranked — Kerrang!
Rob Zombie was aÂ seasoned pro well before he struck out alone as aÂ solo artist. Formed in 1985, his earlier, New York-based project White Zombie were conceived as aÂ noise-rock collective, but went on to deliver some of the greatest truly heavy tracks of the 1990s in bangers like Thunder Kiss ââ65, More Human Than Human and Black Sunshine. He dropped his first ââsoloâ effort â Hands Of Death (Burn Baby Burn), written and performed alongside Alice Cooper â in 1996, but it was only with the arrival of Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International that Rob truly solidified his identity as the demonic ringmaster leading aÂ circus of gore-soaked electro-industrial and horror-obsessedÂ hi-jinks.
Indeed, nowadays Rob Zombie is probably better known to the wider pop culture populace as the grotty cinematic auteur behind grindhouse revival movies like House Of 1000 Corpses, The Devilâs Rejects, 3Â From Hell, 2007âs Halloween remake and its impressively gruesome 2009 sequel, but heâs still managed to produce aÂ further six LPs of high-quality heaviness in the two-and-a-bit decades since striking outÂ alone.
Critics will invariably point to Zombieâs almost-unwavering adherence to the floor-filling formula as his greatest weakness, but â just like the scuzzy midnight movies with which heâs so in love â thatâs the whole point of the exercise. So, although aÂ fair few of the tracks on this Top 20 are stylistically interchangeable, theyâre no less satisfying when stacked on aÂ pulse-quickening playlist. Turns out that cavorting with the dead really can feel hellishlyÂ aliveâ¦
20. Mars Needs Women (Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls And The Systematic Dehumanisation Of Cool, 2010)
Although the ââsequelâ to Rob Zombieâs seminal 1998 solo debut Hellbilly Deluxe didnât come close to reaching the heights of that earlier masterpiece, itâs hard to deny that there were aÂ few stone-cold bangers in there. Named after Larry Buchananâs schlocky 1968Â TV movie, the albumâs fourth track packs some serious stomp as Rob declares ââMars needs women / Angry red womenâ over industrial riffs sculpted from solid concrete. The album version adds aÂ twangy two-minute intro, with John 5âs acoustic guitar and Tommy Clufetosâ bongos layering up the oddness, but even without out it, Mars Needs Women hits hard enough to blow aÂ new crater into the distant redÂ planet.
19. Well, Everybodyâs Fucking In A U.F.O. (The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser, 2016)
âThis is the story of aÂ one-eyed wolf / Called the honey of superdoom,â sings Rob with unhinged relish on the lead single to 2016âs The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. ââShe rode her five legged beast / In aÂ mirrored bikini that came right out of the womb.â Combining psychobilly weirdness and passages of chest-crushing heaviosity, Well, Everybodyâs Fucking In AÂ U.F.O. sounds at times like Ministry at their druggiest and at others quite unlike anyone else. Spitting couplets as crude as ââBut all they had was jizz on the walls / And bones of aÂ mangled priestâ and hamming it up in the gleefully smutty Danielle Lovett-produced video, Mr. ZÂ is clearly having the time of his lifeÂ here.
18. Pussy Liquor (House Of 1000 Corpses: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, 2003)
Deploying one of the most outrageous innuendos in hard rock history, this sample-heavy cut from the soundtrack to Robâs feature film debut House Of 1000 Corpses comes on with impeccable, effortless cool. Dripping with sex and the sense of its own outrageousness, the marriage of that swaggering main riff and fist-pumping chorus feels like aÂ dark, alternate universe version of the sort-of populist rock with which Muse would springboard into stadia over the decade that followed. As Rob cranks the sleaze, however, and asks, ââOne, two, three, who should IÂ kill?â, itâs clear heâs happier when inhabiting far murkierÂ spaces.
17. The Triumph Of King Freak (A Crypt Of Preservation And Superstition) (The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy, 2021)
Returning after five years away, 2021âs The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy found Rob Zombie on experimental, often downright playful form. 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks And AÂ One-Way Ticket On The Ghost Train, for instance, was aÂ bonkers exercise in acid-soaked Americana, while Boom-Boom-Boom adorned its moody, atmospheric soundscape with lyrics as audacious as, ââBoom-boom-boom / The witch is in the room / Boom-boom-boom / Sheâs sliding up the broom.â Lead single The Triumph Of King Freak (A Crypt Of Preservation And Superstition) is probably the most coherent offering on there, despite shoehorning moments of Bollywood-style exoticism and wibbly-wobbly hip-hop in alongside its gargantuan mainÂ riff.
16. Two-Lane Blacktop (Past, Present & Future, 2003)
Tagged on as the previously-unreleased single for 2003 compilation LP Past, Present &Â Future, Two-Lane Blacktop comes on like the uncharacteristically straightforward, three-minute hard rock banger custom-tooled for winding the windows down and hitting the open road. Because this is Rob Zombie weâre talking about, itâs also aÂ tribute to Monte Hellmanâs cult 1971 road movie of the same name, which plays out like aÂ far grittier version of The Fast &Â The Furious. The songâs best enjoyed with all baggage kicked to the kerb, however, as aÂ pedal-to-the-metal soundtrack for burning up asphalt as we catapult into the settingÂ sun.Â
15. Meet The Creeper (Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International, 1998)
Reportedly produced with the working title Creature Core, the ninth track on Hellbilly Deluxe feels like aÂ prototypical example of the world-beating Rob Zombie formula as he forged his path as aÂ solo artist. AÂ riff designed to be stepped along to in your heaviest New Rocks? Check. Weirdo sound effects embedded hypnotically into the mix? Check. Lyrics that would work acceptably as aÂ horror movie script? Oh hell yes. With MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼eââs Tommy Lee banging the drums and Rob himself on snarling form, however, Meet The Creeper still manages to jump out from theÂ pack.
14. Iron Head (The Sinister Urge, 2001)
Thereâs aÂ lot going on in the fifth track from Rob Zombieâs second solo album, The Sinister Urge. The main composition experiments with shrill, avant-garde sounds that feel like aÂ deliberate departure from the slamming style of his previous album. There are some odd nu-metal flourishes, too, with aÂ few flippy-floppy turntables and Rob gamely attempting aÂ little Jonathan Davis-style scatting. Then we have aÂ cameo appearance by The Prince Of Darkness himself: Ozzy bleedinâ Osbourne. Somehow it all comes together in an intoxicatingly esoteric cocktail of alt. edginess and classic metal high theatrics, with the contrast between Robâs throaty snarl and Ozzyâs more nasal delivery striking particularly onÂ point.
13. Dead City Radio And The Gods of Supertown (Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, 2013)
For many fans, 2013âs Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor was was the moment that Rob spiralled off into aÂ black hole of wilful, loose-slung weirdness from which he has yet to return. On face of it, the nonsensical narrative and relatively rascally tone of lead single Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown would support that hypothesis. The trackâs subliminal indictment of the state of modern rock radio and sense of elder-statesman easygoing have made it an enduring favourite in the years since, though. Plus, we got that cracking monochrome music video featuring Robâs mates, the sword wielding bellydancer, the breakdancing skeleton and that headbanging rubberÂ chicken.
12. Demon Speeding (The Sinister Urge, 2001)
Another likely ode to drag racing, the second single from The Sinister Urge somehow manages to make its mid-paced munch feel like itâs struggling to stay between the highway lines at high speed. ââHey, do ya love me, Iâm untouchable darkness?â Rob asks in aÂ barely-veiled love letter to the open road. ââA dirty black river to get you through thisâ¦ Get into my world all American dream!â Recorded in the direct wake of Metallicaââs first S&M experiment, the more orchestral flourishes do feel occasionally awkwardly tacked on, but there are ultimately no stop signs to disrupt this joyously high-octane aural assault. StrapÂ in!
11. Lords Of Salem (Educated Horses, 2006)
Although unrelated to Robâs identically-titled 2012 supernatural horror movie, the 11th and final track from Educated Horses unfolds with genuinely oppressive atmospherics, stomach-lurching dread and real big-screen scope. Reckoning on Salem, Massachusettsâ infamous 17th century witch trials, Rob counterbalances his lurid aesthetic with aÂ sense of understated outrage for those women executed on maliciously false pretences: ââDo you think they suffered / Up on Gallows Hill?â Despite never being released as aÂ single, nor setting the charts alight, the Zombie Live version of Lords Of Salem was nominated for aÂ Best Hard Rock Performance GRAMMY in 2009. Credit where you can get it, weÂ guessâ¦
10. Sick Bubblegum (Hellbilly Deluxe 2: Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls And The Systematic Dehumanisation Of Cool, 2010)
When asked where the gooey title to the second single from Hellbilly Deluxe 2Â came from in interviews at the time, Rob Zombie would reminisce on how his friend (and legendary Ramones guitarist) Johnny Ramone described his own bandâs music as ââbubblegumâ¦ sick bubblegumâ. From deliciously nihilistic opening sample (âHey, we all know how weâre gonna die, baby / Weâre gonna crash and burn, burn, burn, burn, burnâ) to gob-flecked attitude and relatively stripped-back main composition, there is aÂ punkish energy here that matches up. Rousing proof that Rob can still ââtear it up â push it downâ without resorting to ghoulish bells andÂ whistles.
9. House Of 1000 Corpses (The Sinister Urge, 2001)
Two years before he was allowed to drop his cinematic debut of the same name (it having been completed in 2000 but held up due to controversial subject matter), Rob delivered this six-and-a-half minute classic (the nine-and-a-half minute album version features an interlude and ââsecret trackâ Unholy Three) to round out The Sinister Urge. Featuring audio samples from Don Edmondsâ 1975 exploitation classic Ilsa, She Wolf Of The SS, and plumbing into new levels of sonic creepiness, this is the sound of Rob really toying with cinematic convergences of sex and violence, suffocating claustrophobia and grainy widescreen scope. Unlike the aforementioned Lords Of Salem, this dovetailed nicely with its celluloid counterpart, aÂ perfect accompaniment to the absurdly heinous antics of Captain Spaulding and MotherÂ Firefly.
8. Demonoid Phenomenon (Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International, 1998)
CHUG-A-CHUG-A-CHUG-A-CHUG! Much like Meet The Creeper, the sixth (sixth sixth) track from Hellbilly Deluxe gets too easily lost in the albumâs relentless, all-action assault of pumping industrial and graveyard sleaze. Really piling on the heaviness while featuring some of the recordâs most effectively insidious samples (âDonât lie to yourself; it gave you pleasureâ¦â) and inspired electronic flourishes, itâs anything but deserving of album track obscurity, and more than capable of speaking compellingly for itself: ââViolator! Desecrator! Demonoid Phenomenon! Get it out! Get it on!â Just try not to leave too much blood on theÂ dancefloorâ¦
7. Feel So Numb (The Sinister Urge, 2001)
A gleaming, high-impact pop-metal masterclass, the Sinister Urgeâs slamming lead single felt like aÂ promise that thereâd be absolutely no slacking after Hellbilly Deluxeâs world-beating success. ââPrometo solemnemente defender el bien yÂ luchar contra la injusticia yÂ la maldad,â promises the Spanish-language intro on the album version, lifted from legendary luchador Mil MÃ¡scarasâ performance in the 1966 Mexican movie bearing his name: ââI solemnly promise to defend good and fight against injustice and evil!â To the contrary, there is aÂ defiant iniquitousness here, as Rob ruminates on the disconnection that came with his quickly-acquired success, before concluding itâs better to embrace the madness than to flee from it: ââWhere do IÂ run / What have IÂ done? / IÂ feel so good, IÂ feel so numb, yeah!â
6. Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy) (The Sinister Urge, 2001)
Based on Anthony Burgessâ notorious 1962 novel AÂ Clockwork Orange, The Sinister Urgeâs third single tempers Rob Zombieâs trademark bombast with elements of retro pop-rock and an even higher level of Hollywood sheen. The titular ââred, red kroovyâ is aÂ reference to the fictional ââNadsatâ word for blood in the novel, ââHorrorshowâ is the term for good and ââDurango Number 95â is the name of the protagonistsâ car, while Robâs music video heavily references Stanley Kubrickâs 1971 cinematic adaptation. AÂ whole generation of fans will also surely know the tune as WWE wrestler Edgeâs entrance theme, with the massive ââNEVER GONNA STOP ME, NEVER GONNA STOP!â hook perfectly fitting the OTT world of sportsÂ entertainment.
5. Teenage Nosferatu Pussy (Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, 2013)
âI am shadow, IÂ am tomorrow / IÂ am aÂ hero with aÂ buggy whip / IÂ am so hazardous / My name is Lazarus / IÂ am aÂ pirate on a / Devil ship.â If the latter-stage of Rob Zombieâs career has perhaps too often been waylaid by curious experimentalism, the opening track of 2013âs Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is its glorious sweet spot, boasting aÂ lurching horror movie aesthetic that feels slower, sludgier, and aÂ few degrees removed from the singerâs stock formula, while measuring its more out-there flourishes for maximum unsettling effect. The squealing solo that opens its final third sounds like aÂ creature screeching for its life, up against aÂ bludgeoning riff with murder on its mind.Â Brilliant.
4. Living Dead Girl (Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International, 1998)
âWho is this irresistible creature who has an insatiable love for the dead?â Opening with that iconic line from 1971 Italian horror Lady Frankenstein, and featuring direct references to Wes Cravenâs 1972 video nasty Last House On The Left, 1971 erotic chiller Daughters Of Darkness, 1965 Vincent Price vehicle Dr. Goldfoot And The Bikini Machine and its 1966 sequel Dr. Goldfoot And The Girl Bombs, the fourth track and second single from Hellbilly Deluxe might just be the most horror-centric in his whole catalogue. Combining slinking sexiness, drawling Southern Gothic and even some exotic Eastern motifs, it is also one of the most hypnotically irresistible in modern hardÂ rock.
3. Superbeast (Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International, 1998)
Even amongst Rob Zombieâs pitch black oeuvre, Superbeast stands apart: aÂ grizzled, thrashing composition running off primal energy that simply will not be contained. Cautioning listeners against summoning the mythical man/animal of the title (who will seek bloody revenge for having his rest interrupted), the narrative is classic Rob Zombie Bâmovie nonsense, but itâs the perfect platform for his menacing/enticing tone, while that iconic hook â ââDown in the cool air, IÂ can seeâ â so effectively encapsulates the sense of having your spine chilled right as your desire is heating up. Amongst those perfectly attuned sonic textures, the track also features work from Nine Inch Nails multi-instrumentalist Charlie Clouser, who was originally onboard to produce the whole LP but had to drop off due to conflictingÂ obligations.
2. Scum Of The Earth (The Sinister Urge, 2001)
Clocking in at 175Â seconds and wasting not aÂ single one of them, Scum Of The Earth was originally featured on the outrageously brilliant Mission: Impossible 2Â soundtrack before being recycled as an advance single for The Sinister Urge with good reason. White-knuckle riffs. Neck-wrecking rhythms. AÂ chorus that grabs you like demonic possession. The colourfully fatalistic lyrics (âRun and kill / Destroy the will / AÂ hero that doesnât existâ¦ Smoking gun / Well IÂ am the one / AÂ bullet hole / In your fistâ) mightnât be heavy on narrative substance, but they work perfectly with the looping, stripped-down structure. By the time the weird, wailing female vocals drop in on the final chorus, youâll probably be too punch-drunk to truly payÂ heed.Â
1. Dragula (Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales Of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside The Spookshow International, 1998)
It mightâve been one of the last songs completed for Hellbilly Deluxe, but the first single Rob Zombie released since striking out alone as aÂ solo artist is still the prototype to which all others aspire. Taking the sinister swagger that had served him so well as the frontman of White Zombie, welding on elements of thumping industrial and pulsating electronica, then revving the whole thing well past the redline (the title is aÂ reference to Grandpa Munsterâs racer DRAG-U-LA from cult ââ60s TV show The Munsters), thereâs just so much momentum on show here that itâs impossible not to be levelled â even more than two decades further down the track. With its iconic opening sample (âSuperstition, fear and jealousyâ) lifted from Christopher Leeâs performance in classic horror The City Of The Dead, the video for Dragula was also something of aÂ coming-out for Zombie as aÂ film maker, capturing the imaginations of metal and movie fans around the globe. An immortalÂ banger.
Posted on May 17th 2021, 5:00p.m.