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CD review: ROB ZOMBIE, Hellbilly Deluxe 2

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By Ben Apatoff

ROB ZOMBIE is one of the most creative frontmen in contemporary metal. Sonically and visually, he's reshaped alterna-metal and rock radio for the better, while delivering some of the best mainstream metal of the '90s and one of the most consistently exciting live shows in rock. His latest album is a sequel to Hellbilly Deluxe, the record that launched a thousand action movie soundtracks, and while Hellbilly 2 a few songs that will probably sound great live, nothing surpasses any of the original Hellbilly hits.

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On Hillbilly Deluxe 2, Mr. Sheri Moon Zombie sounds like an artist who should be on Roadrunner pitching himself to The End Records. He's maintained the bells and whistles that made WHITE ZOMBIE stand out, but he no longer has the hooks to carry them. The artsy detours and sound clips on "Jesus Frankenstein" and particularly the interminable "The Man Who Laughs" distract from otherwise fine songs. "Werewolf Women of the SS" is an undeserving musical counterpart to Rob's inspiring Grindhouse trailer.  Even when he isn't sounding awkwardly experimental, songs like "Mars Needs Women" and "Burn" are worthy of Rob's mediocre kid brother's band, but not the guy who gave us Astro-Creep 2000.

Hellbilly Deluxe 2 has its moments. "Sick Bubblegum" is catchier than any song with a "Rock, motherfucker" rejoinder deserves to be, and "What?" may be the best GIBBY HAYNES impression since 1996, right down to lyrics that sound made up on the spot. JOHN 5 does his best to disguise lifeless riffs with some stylish playing and a killer tone, resulting in some nice mainstream metal. However, "nice" should never be a word that can describe a Rob Zombie record.

Rating: 2 Demilition-Style Hell American Freaks out of 5

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Pretty faithful to the original.

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