Few musical icons are quite as polarizing to the world of metal as Rob Zombie. Some find him to be a modern renaissance man, a raconteur who unleashes his imagination through film, art and music. Others think Zombie is a hack. An opportunist who wrote a few good songs and lives off them while making mediocre horror films. Whatever side you land on, your position won’t be swayed much by Mondo Sex Head, an album of re-mix material where Zombie’s big hits get the dance treatment.
The last time Zombie released original music was 2010’s Hellbilly Deluxe, which was actually finished in 2008. So really it’s been four years since we’ve heard any new music from Zombie. In that time he has given us the films Halloween II, Lords Of Salem, directed an episode of CSI Miami, a Woolite commercial, and been guest host on WWE Raw as well as being a guest judge and doing voice over work. Music doesn’t seem to be Zombie’s focus and Mondo Sex Head reflects that. This is just another weapon in his pop culture arsenal.
A “Thunder Kiss ’65” remix open the album, which should surprise no one. This is the tune Rob Zombie came to power with during his White Zombie days. Korn’s Jonathon Davis, under the moniker JDevil, is behind this reimagining. While not possessing the most original DJ name, Davis knocks this remix out of the park by taking the original riff and adding blips and chirps and voice distortion in order to give it a Jersey Shore fist pump dance beat. It’s a completely different song than the original, which is how a remix should be.
EDM stalwart Photex then decides to bring the energy to a grinding halt with a seven-minute remix of “Living Dead Girl”. This jam is more mid-tempo in it’s remixing, a pounding bass drum gives the tune a drug sensibility. It’s the kind of repetitive beat those of us who have enjoyed hallucinogenic relaxation would bob our head to in a crowded club without noticing the other people, just focused on the constant rhythm and the eerie keyboards. The seven-minute length does kill the energy that Thunder Kiss opened up with, but “Living Dead Girl”’s remix comes off like creepy sex. You want to fuck to this song but not some random girl, that crazy chick in the vinyl outfit with colored dreads and a look in her eye that says she’ll devour your soul one orgasm at a time.
“Dragula” is given an 80s electronica via the world of dubstep vibe by Deftone’s frontman Chino who channels prince by using three crosses as his DJ name. If you like the Pet Shop Boys, ABC, Missing Persons and Dubstep, then Chino’s “Dragula” will make you very happy. The Bloody Beatroots take all kinds of angles with “Burn”. At times it’s a straight thump-bass club banger and then a big rock guitars and crashing drums song that ultimately reverts back into the dance party. The Bloody Beatroots know about payoff, when the huge dance part comes in you will absolutely be forced to dance.
Other remixes are less effective, like Drumcorps entirely too cluttered version of “Never Gonna Stop” or the really unfocused and incredibly dull remix of “Let It Bleed Out” from Document One. I also found former Glitch Mob member Kraddy’s version of “Superbeast” unmemorable. Though many dismiss it as simple, creating a great remix is as much an art form as anything else. Bringing the elements of what makes the original song so good into existence with whatever your imagination can add is an uneasy process. Sometimes you strike gold but often you fail to add anything new to the song or to make it something outside its origin.
Mondo Sex Head is a lot of fun, and I figure that’s what Zombie wanted. I don’t hate Zombie, but I see him as an entertainer. His movies, live shows, music and art are all visceral, easy and stab right for quick responses. He’s a gimmick man and his gimmick works. I don’t begrudge him that and I find those who hate Rob Zombie to be taking what he does way too seriously. I doubt Zombie takes what he does that seriously. This album is an extension of our celebrity infused consumer culture. It’s harmless and fun so buy it and don’t think too much about it.
Will I listen to this Mondo Sex Head again? No, probably not. If it was on at a party would I boogie my ass off with the hot Goth chick sporting the Rob Zombie T-shirt as part of her well manicured counter-culture identity?
Hell fucking yes!!
6-7 Very Good