Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Nuclear Blast Records
Released: 12th March, 2021
Buy Album [URL]: https://robzombie.com/lunar-injection/
Band Website: https://robzombie.com/

Band Line-up:

Rob Zombie – Vocals
John 5 – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Piggy D – Bass, Backing Vocals
Ginger Fish – Drums

Tracklisting:

01. Expanding the Head of Zed
02. The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)
03. The Ballad of Sleazy Rider
04. Hovering Over the Dull Earth
05. Shadow of the Cemetery Man
06. A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared
07. 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks, and a One-Way Ticket On the Ghost Train
08. The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man
09. The Much Talked of Metamorphosis
10. The Satanic Rites of Blacula
11. Shower of Stones
12. Shake Your Ass-Smoke Your Grass
13. Boom-Boom-Boom
14. What You Gonna Do with That Gun Mama?
15. Get Loose
16. The Serenity of Witches
17. Crow Killer Blues

Review:

Five years on from his absurdly titled last studio album The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser, American horror fanatic, musician, writer, and director Rob Zombie returns in 2021 with his latest effort, the just-as-crazy The Lunar Injection Kool-Aid Eclipse Conspiracy.

Reuniting with bandmates John 5, Piggy D, and Ginger Fish, Zombie set out to deliver a career-highlight record, and whilst it’s not perfect, it’s a delirious and often danceable collection of songs and sample-heavy interludes, propelled by Zombie’s signature blend of metallic grooves, trashy -B-movie samples, and horror-inspired lyrics. If you’re not a fan of the weird and wonderful world that Rob Zombie inhabits by now, this album won’t change your mind.

Since he released the first single from the record back on Halloween 2020 entitled ‘The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition),’ I’ve been eagerly anticipating this album with bated breath. ‘King Freak’ is a crushingly heavy stomp filled with everything you’ve come to expect from a Zombie song by now. Distorted vocal effects, slamming guitar riffs and licks from John 5, bonkers lyrics, and sampled audio replaying ‘the demons hate me’… Longtime Zombie fans will lap this up.

The second single ‘The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man’ ups both the ante and the silliness in equal measure, with a furious hard rock riff kicking in after a creepy organ introduction, a middle section that fully embraces the funk, and chants of “Power to the people” that is destined for future live performances. The absurdity reaches boiling point as Zombie hits the refrain of “Knievel kicked it now he’s dead” before the band brings it home with heavy drum patterns and John 5’s excellent outro riff. The song, combined with the trippy music video, leaves such a smile on my face every time and it has quickly become one of my personal favourite songs from the group. I’m also shocked that he hasn’t used the line “Colour me black and coffin red, Godzilla eats the dragon’s head” until now.

Out of the 17 tracks on offer on Lunar Injection, 7 of them are interludes. My biggest issue with 2016’s Electric Warlock was the sheer amount of interludes compared to full songs, and it would seem he has doubled down on that for the new record. One or two of these short instrumental tracks have always been a staple of a Zombie record, but seven feels like overkill. Maybe that’s just me, and I think I would have preferred one or two full songs in their place. ‘Expanding the Head of Zed’ works really well as an opener to set the tone of the record, but ‘Hovering Over the Dull Earth’ and ‘A Brief Static Hum…’ could’ve been left off and nobody would notice.

The songs that are here, however, are all really good. ’18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks, and a One-Way Ticket On the Ghost Train’ is probably the biggest musical curveball Zombie has ever made. Showcasing John 5’s country picking and banjo skills, the song plays out like an old school Johnny Cash tune filtered through the weirdness and horror aesthetic of Rob Zombie. It totally took me by surprise, and the chorus slams in immediately with a heavy-hitting riff out of nowhere.

‘The Ballad of Sleazy Rider’ and ‘Shadow of the Cemetery Man’ are typical Zombie tracks and wouldn’t be out of place on Hellbilly Deluxe 2 or Educated Horses, with stomping rhythms, more sampled dialogue, and his trademark nonsense lyrics. It’s clear that this record feels much more like a band effort, as John 5 is given more chance to shine on Lunar Injection than ever before during his time with Zombie. Licks, solos, hard riffs, and octave effects are all injected to make the record feel more ‘alive’ and energetic than the previous album, and it’s impressive.

‘The Satanic Rites of Blacula’ propels itself forward with a violent drum pattern and palm-muted guitar riffing before launching into a chorus that’ll be stuck in your head for days, even weeks, to come. ‘Shake Your Ass – Smoke Your Grass’ is a smoldering, sexy ode to getting high and having a good time, and will no doubt be a fan favourite, and ‘Boom Boom Boom’ features a low and menacing vocal from Zombie atop a bluesy, almost dark country stomp with heavy bass and chilling guitar lines.

‘Get Loose’ features a sitar, giving the track Middle-Eastern vibes combined with lyrics of “We’re all dirty, so filthy” as it reminds me of ‘Well Everybody’s Fucking in a UFO’ in terms of the subject matter, ‘Crow Killer Blues’ is a corrosive and nasty closing track, with pummeling guitar riffs and tales of Prometheus and the apocalypse and an excellent vocal turn from Zombie throughout.

I’m not sure what he put in the Kool-Aid, but I know I want some. The Lunar Injection Kool-Aid Eclipse Conspiracy is an absolutely bonkers affair and while it may not be quite as good as Hellbilly Deluxe or The Sinister Urge, this sees Rob Zombie doing what he does best: using his love affair with B-movie horror and industrial metal to create another solid album and having a blast doing it. Like I said earlier, if you’re not already a fan, this is unlikely to turn you but for the diehards, there’s plenty here to love. I just hope the next record he makes is slightly more focused. Trim the fat, add in a couple more riff-heavy ragers and it’ll be killer.

Review by Jack Merry
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