Released: 2007, Universal Music
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
As he approaches auteur status, Rob Zombie seems to be everywhere. Musician, filmmaker, animator, artist—you can’t go far without seeing his name these days. His recent foray into movies—HOUSE OF 1,000 CORPSES, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS and HALLOWEEN—are a long-time passion realized for Zombie but it will be his short but revered turn fronting White Zombie and his solo career that has earned him the greatest recognition. After three studio albums under his own name and several others with White Zombie since the late eighties, it is a wonder that it has taken this long for Zombie to release a live album but, alas, the time has come. Entitled simply ZOMBIE LIVE, the eighteen tracks here were drawn from various dates on his EDUCATED HORSES tour in 2006 and act also as a “greatest hits” for Zombie’s career.
With John 5 (Marilyn Manson, David Lee Roth, Two) on guitar, the songs crackle with electricity and Piggy D (Wednesday 13) and Tommy Clufetos (Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent) contribute a meaty rhythm section. Zombie’s gruff vocals and banter provide a reasonable live experience but without the visuals—a major part of Zombie’s show—it feels like a piece of the puzzle is missing. “Dragula,” “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and “More Human Than Human” are played note-for-note but its on lesser-known tracks like “Let It All Bleed Out,” “American Witch” and the slide-guitar boogie of “The Devil’s Rejects” where the band can stretch without alienating the casual listener. The vocals drop out a bit here and there and some tracks should have been left in the vault (“Lords of Salem,” “Creature of The Wheel”) but Zombie has presented a true experience of one of his shows, good and bad. Having been to one of his headlining shows on this tour, this is what it sounded like and very few live albums can attest to that anymore.
Carefully sandwiched between the soulless overdubbing and bootleg-quality of live albums, ZOMBIE LIVE is as near as one will get to a Rob Zombie show without the pyro, pinups, ten-foot robot and B-movie video clips. A DVD is rumored to be coming out in 2008 that will feature a full show and if I had to choose, I would wait for that because Zombie is such an entertaining visual artist. But for those simply looking to have a collection of Zombie’s career-spanning material, ZOMBIE LIVE certainly does the trick.