If you are a fan of Rob Zombie’s, or even if you aren’t, you can definitely recognize his style of music- that is to say, if Alice Cooper wrote songs for strip clubs.
Rob Zombie albums have always had bombastic, almost danceable grooves, over the top guitar effects by the brilliant guitarist John 5, and loads of B-movie sci-fi/horror lyrics. Rob always has always drawn creatively on these themes, including his crazed, trippy album cover artwork, which he’s also known for.
Any fan who has ever listened to Rob Zombie, either in his early White Zombie days in the mid 90’s, to his current material, knows what to expect from a Zombie album, and ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’ delivers. From the first track, “Teenage Nosferatu P*ssy”, it’s obvious that this album is a throwback to his quintessential solo album, ‘Hellbilly Deluxe’. “Teenage Nosferatu” draws almost directly from “Living Dead Girl”, which makes it a solid opening tune.
But that is just the beginning of twelve fun house mirror Rob Zombie tracks. Zombie’s songs always tend to vary stylistically from track to track, with the first deviation being “Dead City Radio”. This track is oddly organ heavy, bordering on Deep Purple or even The Doors inspired, and this becomes a recurring element through several other songs on the CD. Along with that, Rob Zombie once again employs the signature spoken word lyrics, a trick he used when he was still front man for his former band, White Zombie. Which leads into “Revelation Revolution”, a very drum and bass heavy track; the song is almost house music stylistically, revolving around one core sample beat.
However, it’s the 1:13 transition of “Theme for the Rat Vendor” that sends the listener into an auditory freak out: a sitar solo that would do the Beatles proud. Aside from that, the two songs that gain my attention most are “Rock-N-Roll (In a Black Hole)” and “Behold the Pretty Filthy Creatures”. Once again, “Rock-N-Roll” moves back and forth from a slower tempo, but still techno bridge, to Rob’s gritty, growling tone on the verse. On “Behold the Pretty Filthy Creatures”, John 5’s guitar riffs and insane effects are the stars, picking up the listener for a wild ride.
I would be lax not to mention the real surprise on this CD, which is Rob’s cover of the classic Grand Funk Railroad anthem, “We’re An American Band”. Rob Zombie drops his fist on it, slowing the tempo, adding crowd noise to give it a live performance feel, and even does a clever lyric rewrite by replacing guitarist Freddie King with a nod to legendary thrash guitarist Kerry King. The final 3 tracks following the cover tune are “Lucifer Rising”, which I have dubbed “Demon Speeding II”, “The Girl Who Loved the Monster”, and “Trade in Your Guns for a Coffin”, pretty much wrap up the CD, tying in the same lyrical themes that are used throughout.
As a musician and producer, Rob Zombie tends to have a formula that he follows, and that formula works. It’s only when he deviates from that formula, for example the 2006 release of Educated Horses, that he is less successful. But for his faithful fans, he has opted to stay within those lines, and for that reason, ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’ is definitely worth the time spent, for the die hard fan or casual listener.