For 35 years, Robert Bartleh Cummings has been fusing heavy metal, glam rock, and rockabilly with some of the wildest horror and B-movie references put in music. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, you might know Cummings better from his stage name – Rob Zombie. With his band, White Zombie, Zombie broke into the mainstream with La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol I and never looked back. Since White Zombie broke up in 1998, Zombie has continued to release solo movies while carving out a divisive filmmaking career. Today, Zombie releases his seventh solo album, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy after a five year absence from music. To mark the release of his new album, I’m taking a look back at Zombie’s discography and ranking them from worst to best. Live albums and remixes are excluded.
10 – Soul-Crusher/Make Them Die Slowly (1987/1989)
Before White Zombie broke in the mainstream with Thunder Kiss ’65, they released a handful of early records – Soul-Crusher and Make Them Die Slowly. Both albums are very much garage rock efforts, which isn’t a bad thing. Moreover, Zombie was clearly still experimenting with his sound and aesthetics. There’s of noise, groove, and thrash metal. As a result, the albums are pretty crude-sounding and uneven. Don’t expect to find much of the horror and B-movie infused samples. Still there’s clearly hints of the potential we’d see a few years later. Early Zombie, however, is more for diehard fans.
BEST TRACK: Demonspeed
DEEP TRACK: Ratmouth
SKIP IT: Most of the albums … Unless You’re a Completist
9 – Educated Horses (2006)
To be fair, Educated Horses is not a bad album. There are some stand-out tracks here. Both American Witch and Foxy Foxy are deserving of a spot on any ‘best of’ or ‘essentials’ compilation. In particular, the latter track has an infectious guitar hook courtesy of new guitarist, John 5. As far as deep tracks are concerned, The Devil’s Rejects is one of those songs that grows on you with time. Slower and more ominous, it’s an absolute concert anthem. But the rest of the album is just … fine. Something’s just missing. At the end of the day, ‘fine’ or ‘pleasantly forgettable’ aren’t terms that should define a Rob Zombie album.
BEST TRACK: Foxy Foxy
DEEP TRACK: The Devil’s Rejects
SKIP IT: The Scorpion Sleeps
8- Hellbilly Deluxe 2 (2010)
If movies can have sequels, why can’t albums. Meat Loaf did it in the early 90s, so why not Rob Zombie. Unfortunately, the callback to his first, and best, solo effort means that Hellbilly Deluxe 2 suffers by comparison. Still Hellbilly Deluxe is a step up from Educated Horses, If nothing else, the track listing instantly suggests that Zombie is more tapped into horror, B-movie roots again. While Sick Bubblegum and What? are both good picks for singles, Werewolf Women of the SS, Jesus Frankenstein, and Mars Needs Women are the kind of deep tracks fans expect of Zombie. What holds Hellbilly Deluxe back from a higher ranking is the presence of filler. There’s definitely a few disposable tracks here.
BEST TRACK: Sick Bubblegum
DEEP TRACK: Werewolf Women of the SS
SKIP IT: Burn
7 – Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor (2013)
After a couple of middling albums, Rob Zombie announced his return with Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor. Though it’s by no means a perfect album, there’s far less filler here. And Zombie and company embrace some new directions, too. If you’re a fan of 70’s glam rock, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor has a few new homages to Slade, Sweet, and T-Rex. Both Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown and the cover of We’re an American Band are welcome departures for Zombie. But old-school Zombie fans will appreciate Lucifer Rising, The Girl Who Loved Monsters, and Teenage Nosferatu Pussy. You’ll still find a few filler tracks, which accounts for the slightly lower ranking. Nevertheless, Zombie was definitely back on track.
BEST TRACK: Dead City Radio and the News Gods of Supertown
DEEP TRACK: The Girl Who Loved the Monsters
SKIP IT: White Trash Freaks
6 – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser (2016)
After Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor announced Zombie’s return to form, he followed up with this lean effort – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. This 2016 release clocks in at just over 31 minutes. And Zombie, John 5, and Piggy D, were now collaborating on their third album as a band; Ginger Fish was firmly entrenched into the band with this being his second album. The continuity and familiarity shows on this effort. All the hooks are mean and tight – only one track surpasses the three-minute mark. As a result there’s litter filler. No song ever overstays its welcome. Moreover, Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a UFO, The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore, and In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High are all strong tracks deserving a place on an ‘Essentials’ compilation.
BEST TRACK: In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High
DEEP TRACK: Wurdulak
SKIP IT: In the Bone Pile
5- The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy (2021)
Zombie made us wait five years before dropping his newest album, The Lunar Injection Kook Aid Eclipse Conspiracy. And for those fans who wanted a vinyl copy of this one, you may be waiting longer. This time around Zombie released the album through the Nuclear Blast label, so it’s a little harder to find. But if you’re just looking to stream it, you’ll find it on Apple Music or Spotify. And for the most part, it was worth the wait. After several solo albums and his White Zombie work, Zombie isn’t offering much different here. There’s the familiar mix of metal, glam rock, and a bit of rockabilly. But its a comforting familiarity and well-executed effort. Aside from the pre-released singles, The Triumph of King Freak and The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man, Zombie has some fun with Shake Your Ass-Smoke Your Grass and The Satanic Rites of Blacula. Some of the lyrics are quite catchy and John 5’s guitar work on this album is some of his best.
BEST TRACK: The Triumph of King Freak
DEEP TRACK: The Ballad of Sleazy Rider
SKIP IT: 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket on the Ghost Train
4 – La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One (1992)
This was the album that introduced the world to White Zombie. And it started with one track – Thunder Kiss ’65. Right away, metal fans knew there was something different about White Zombie. All the winning elements were finally assembled. It was hard rock, groove metal, theatrical a la Alice Cooper. Then there was the horror and B-movie references in the song title and the samples in the songs themselves. With song titles that reference a B-classic Lon Chaney, Jr, movie (Spiderbaby) and samples from Dawn of the Dead, Faster Pussycat … Kill, Kill, and High School Confidential, White Zombie were something different in metal.
BEST TRACK – Thunder Kiss ’65
DEEP TRACK – Cosmic Monsters Inc.
SKIP IT – None
3- The Sinister Urge (2001)
So close. The Sinister Urge is a damn good album. But Hellbilly Deluxe was a near perfect solo effort, so it was always going to be hard to top. But The Sinister Urge comes about as close as you could hope. Not surprisingly, Zombie named his album after an Ed Wood film. It’s an apt album title for Zombie in more ways than one. Demon Speeding properly kicks things off – it’s an absolute rocker that wouldn’t be out of place on Astro-Creep: 2000 or Hellbilly Deluxe. There’s little in the way of filler and what works, works very well. Take Never Gonna Stop or Scum of the Earth – they’re both up-tempo rockers that get the blood flowing. At the end of the album, Zombie slows things down with the more ‘rockabilly’ The House of 1000 Corpses. If there’s an absolute stand-out track, it’s Feel So Numb. For me, Feel So Numb is a Top 5 Zombie track.
BEST TRACK: Feel So Numb
DEEP TRACK: The House of 1000 Corpses
SKIP IT: (Go To) California
2- Hellbilly Deluxe (1998)
Just when White Zombie seemed on top of the world, news of their dissolution broke. The timing couldn’t have been worse. If La Sexorcisto was a mainstream breakthrough, Astro-Creep: 2000 was a shooting star that placed them among hard rock’s elite. Fortunately, Rob Zombie’s first solo albums, Hellbilly Deluxe, assured fans he wasn’t going anywhere. Picking between Hellbilly Deluxe and Astro-Creep: 2000 is a near impossible task. Everything song on this album is good. Don’t expect to find any filler. This is a complete album that demands you listen from start to finish. With tracks like Dragula, Living Dead Girl, and Superbeast, Zombie maybe created his best fusion of metal and B-movie horror madness.
BEST TRACK: Dragula
DEEP TRACK: The Ballad of Resurrection Joe and Rosa Whore
SKIP IT: Nothing … Everything Song Demands a Listen
1 – Astro-Creep: 2000 (1995)
Over 25 years after its release, Astro-Creep 2000 remains Zombie’s most definitive album. It’s darker, faster, and harder than La Sexorcisto while also sound more polished. Ten years, three studio albums, and a couple of lineup changes later, White Zombie was a well-oiled machine. Arguably, More Human Than Human remains Zombie’s best song. Nevertheless, Astro-Creep 2000 is a complete listening experience from start to finish. With samples coming from Blaxploitation classics (Shaft, Coffy) to vintage horror (The Curse of Frankenstein, The Haunting), every track delivers. Not surprisingly, Zombie gave in and recorded a live concert version of the entire album.
BEST TRACK: More Human Than Human
DEEP TRACK: I, Zombie
SKIP IT: Nothing …. Every Song Demands a Listen