Idle Hands Are the Devil’s Plaything
Shock metal veteran Rob Zombie averages a new studio album every three to four years, and maybe sensing he’s due, he announced a tour with Marilyn Manson and released a new remix collection, Mondo Sex Head. Nine Inch Nails killed and buried the best of the remix LP format years ago, however, so despite his surname and experience with slasher films, Zombie’s curation isn’t resurrecting the genre so easily.
It also suggests Zombie is no longer a musician first. He has more movies on his CV than original solo albums. He claims he’ll record a new CD after the release of The Lords of Salem, yet his dream project, Tyrannosaurus Rex, rests in his back pocket as he plans the hockey film, Broad Street Bullies. So while some consider remix comps and tours without albums soulless cash-grabs—and this one might be (movie production capital, wink wink)—passing off tracks to producers now feels more like Zombie shrugging his shoulders. It doesn’t help that few of the 13 tracks on Mondo Sex Head are transformed into wholly different, ugly beauties.
Most feature wholesale replacement of Zombie’s chugging and screaming techno-rock with industrial’s arpeggiated electronics and the goosestepping stomp of dubstep. It gets messy on kitchen-sink remixes of “Lords of Salem” and “Devil’s Hole Girls.” It gets muddled when Big Black Delta stretches and pulls “More Human Than Human” like Silly Putty. And it gets downright rage-inducing, too: see The Bloody Beetroots’ nauseating blog-house take on “Burn,” or Drumcorps’ almost guitar-less and therefore powerless mix of “Never Gonna Stop.”
Sure, there are a few minor successes. Photek chooses to turn “Living Dead Girl” into a supple groove far from his junglist roots. Ki:Theory manages to go two for two: His attempt at plinkety-plink synthpop works because Zombie’s vocal from “Foxy, Foxy” is still gruff yet more melodic than “Dragula” (where ††† fails), and he turns “Pussy Liquor” into somewhat subdued EBM. But these are all meaningless words about ultimately meaningless sounds. Nobody should mistake Mondo Sex Head for anything other than Rob Zombie’s musical engine idling.