As if 2010’s Hellbilly Deluxe 2 wasn’t enough of an indicator, it seems like Rob Zombie has gotten complacent with how things are looking in his music career. The somewhat awkwardly titled Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is his first album to come out in three years, a downright blur by Zombie standards when you also consider the release of the long delayed Lords of Salem film. But there are a few subtle changes afoot if events like the hiring of former Marilyn Manson drummer Ginger Fish and the move to a self-run label are anything to go by.
For the most part, you could describe this as a somewhat “typical” Rob Zombie album. Most of the songs on here are executed in the garage metal swagger that was established two albums prior and the horror-erotica lyrics are as ridiculous as their titles would lead you to expect. The band also stays in their set roles as the album continues to be defined by obscure samples, John 5’s clunks, a solid percussive foundation, and Rob’s distorted calls to arms.
On the other end, this album does manage to bring back the industrial influence that had been thoroughly abandoned since the days of The Sinister Urge. This can best be seen in “Revelation Revolution” and “The Girl Who Loved The Monsters” as they both channel the “Dragula” sound with their dance beats, building verses, and party friendly choruses. There are still some growing pains that can be heard but it does seem to be a step in the right direction that could potentially interest those who have been out of the loop.
Unfortunately, the songs end up being another mixed bag thanks to some awkward writing and the underutilized talents of John 5. Tracks like “Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga” and “White Trash Freaks” offer promising ideas but are ultimately unrealized due to the lack of a strong guitar presence while others such as “Behold, The Pretty Filthy Creatures” fall into filler territory due to their rather haphazard structuring. The quality is never bad but you get the feeling that “Rock And Roll (In A Black Hole)” could’ve been the next “Superbeast” if they had arranged it a little more cohesively.
But with that said, there are still plenty of entertaining moments. The opening “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” is the stomping anthem that “Jesus Frankenstein” wanted to be, “Lucifer Rising” is an intense speed metal number that recalls “Let It All Bleed Out,” and lead single “Dead City Radio And The New Gods Of Supertown” is a fun arena filler once you get past the cheesy spoken segments before the verses. I also gotta give props to the cover of “We’re An American Band,” which avoids sounding too contrived thanks to a borderline doom vibe that reminds me of classic Pentagram.
Overall, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is probably on the same level as its predecessor in terms of quality, but I think this may have been the album that really should’ve been called Hellbilly Deluxe 2. The industrial tracks give this album a feel that is much closer to Rob Zombie’s roots as a solo artist and there seems to be a bit more energy than there was on his most recent releases. The rocky writing and band dynamic may not make it an essential purchase but fans of Zombie’s past works should know what to expect by now.
“Teenage Nosferatu Pussy”
“Dead City Radio And The New Gods of Supertown”
“The Girl Who Loved the Monsters”