As leader of the theatrical, horror-inspired industro-metal band White Zombie, Rob Zombie made his mark by working harder than his industrial peers. Not content to merely slap together a predictable pastiche of grinding guitars, crashing beats, and distorted vocals, he has spent the last 13 years meticulously arranging those ingredients into an ambitious package featuring samples, mood-diversifying interludes, and refreshing humor. Elaborate packaging and a Beavis And Butt-Head endorsement haven't hurt, either, but give the band more credit than that: How many industrial acts intentionally make their fans laugh? When you get down to it, the samples and interludes on Zombie's solo debut, Hellbilly Deluxe, are merely window dressing for compact, overdriven, anthemic money shots like "Superbeast," "Demonoid Phenomenon," and "Living Dead Girl." And Zombie's music has always been a bit better in theory than in practice; when that sense of humor isn't readily apparent, the songs can be just as cheesy and meat-headed as the work of a thousand interchangeable industrial shouters. But it's hard to suppress joy when Zombie shouts choruses like, "She's a killah! / She's a thrillah! / Spookshow baby!" It may be silly—and Hellbilly Deluxe isn't as generous or over-the-top as a typical White Zombie record—but it's still a guilty pleasure.

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