Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Past Blast

...songs of love, destruction and other synthetic delusions of the Electric Head...

Lots of posts about current musical output and the various trials of the industry recently (well, at least one full one and a bit of getting off track in most of the others......writing style of a sieve/colander, is how I see it). So I want to take things back - way back - to a simpler time.

This is a time when MTV played music videos (thank heavens they changed.....I know I for one can't get enough of seeing some people I'd want to run over in 'Real' life piss and moan about whose existence is the dullest). A time when one could get excited about a Foo Fighters album, rather than listening to the previous release as an alternative to the pre-release. A time when nu-metal could be bandied about as an underground recommendation and not something akin to a biohazard warning. A time when one could see Biohazard, come to think of it.

......yeah, I'll shut up now, it's 1995..............

This is more or less the year I jumped into the metal and never looked back. Prior to this I'd dallied with borrowed Metallica mix tapes, badly scratched copies of Dookie and comedy 7"s ('Do the Bartman', anyone? How about 'The Stonk'?!?), but could in no way class myself a music fan......see those last two links again for incontrovertible evidence.

The well known metal bands of the time still get plenty of love - in the right circles - today and rightly so. Former members of Pantera, Fear Factory, and Sepultura have gone onto new projects that are still big names in contemporary metal, whilst the Seps are still going too, along with Metallica, Megadeth, Machine Head, and countless others. Rob Zombie has forged himself a solid, if generally uninspiring, solo career and now focuses more on film as his primary endeavour. Rob's band for much of the 90's, however, is what I want to focus on.

White Zombie was a pretty big deal in the mid 1990's. They were at the top on Donington bills, could get play on the aforementioned Music Television at a time when it wasn't standard for metal - or even hard rock - acts (at least in Europe it wasn't), and were an influence on contemporaries. It does feel like the band has been largely forgotten, though, in the mass of Rob's solo releases and general success. Not that I would begrudge him any such success.....far from it......but this is the band that released Astro Creep: 2000 dammit, which must not be consigned to the dusty metal footnotes!

A superb album from start to finish, it covers almost everything that I loved about the genre at the time and continues to remind me of why I love it today. It has the full blown, aggressive energy of anthems Super Charger Heaven and the Electric Heads. The slow chugging burn of Creature of the Wheel, not long before the pyschedelic stomp of I, Zombie and the inimitable More Human Than Human. There's no shortage of metal's darker elements but all the while there's a tongue in cheek, horror circus element to the entire outing. That the band achieve this without making the listen cheesy or just a novelty act is all the more impressive, as the solo releases have tended to edge much too far into those lesser realms for my enjoyment.

More Human Than Human video

Where previous album La Sexorcisto had some standout tracks, not the least of which - Thunderkiss '65 - does still get some play nowadays, it doesn't even come close to the overwhelming whole listen of Astro Creep. As a previous post touched upon, the album may or may not be fading out as a guideline for artistic boundaries, but listening to something like this makes a compelling case for the format. Fulfilling but concise enough (and with that crucial quality throughout) to keep the listener coming back for more and more. Not to mention representative of an entire genre at the time.

What this all boils down to is one of the classic metal releases of not just the last decade but any decade. And one that is rarely mentioned, it seems. The groove and accessibility give it an extra dimension that I always found lacking in thrash or the blacker of the metals at the time, whilst the breakneck pace, gritty riffs, and thunderous drumming (John Tempesta, accurately named) all keep us firmly rooted in the world of metal to ensure not too much of that alternative word creeps in.

If you couldn't already tell, younger metal/heavy rock fans, I'm highly recommending this one to you.

The Psychoholic World of White Zombie

MP3: White Zombie - Super Charger Heaven



Now playing: Vision Of Disorder - Colorblind
via FoxyTunes

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