In what appears to be the quickest return between albums, Rob Zombie delivers his 5th album of original material (8th overall if you count the remix and live records) entitled Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor and in almost as many records brings a few changes from the last outing. For starters, drummer Tommy Clueftos is out and longtime Marilyn Manson drummer, Ginger Fish is in. After a brief stint on Roadrunner Records and quick fling with longtime support Geffen Records for the last remix record, Zombie has opted to align with Zodiac Swan Records for this most recent outing. How would these changes affect the bands direction? Let’s find out.

Obviously I’m a little biased when it comes to the career of Rob Zombie. For me, to say that his former group, White Zombie, is my favorite band is an understatement. Talk about a right thing at the right time. Ever since my first experience in hearing a Rob Zombie related project way back in 1992, I’ve been hooked and have pretty much followed blindly since. Now with that said, his solo career hasn’t come close to capturing that feeling that White Zombie brought (both on record and live) and his last official record was the first time that I found myself bored with something he put out. Hellbilly Deluxe 2, the sequel to his seminal debut solo record, was the first time in his career that I was found forcing myself to like it. The reissue with 3 new songs added and some of the unnecessary solos removed greatly improved the record but it is still a record I barely touch when opting to listen to one of his records.

I’m glad to say that the mistakes of the last album appear to be gone on this one. Everything that was wrong with HB2 has been erased with Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor. Zombie was quoted as saying that this record was going to be the closest thing that he’s done in his solo career to match that White Zombie sound. I wouldn’t go that far but you can hear some of that old WZ influence make its presence known from time to time. A more accurate description of the material would be a perfect blend of the metal/industrial/disco fusion from the early records mixed with the 60’s/70’s rock that he attempted on Educated Horses. I know there has been a ton of times in my recent reviews that I have claimed an album to be a culmination record, but once again it seems to fit. Zombie has been at this game since 1985 and it seems to have all come together on this record.

One of the other, most positive aspects of the record is the pacing of the album. I’ve said it before; a record is like the telling of a story. It needs to start out with a bang to hook you in and maintain a rollercoaster like feeling the whole time and conclude with something to drive home the point. The record needs to maintain focus and not drift away from the idea too far as to lose the audience. One of my biggest gripes with Zombie’s solo career is that he’s always found time to experiment on a record and it tends to ruin the whole flow of the album. Zombie hasn’t been able to contain his musical ADD since Astro Creep in 1995. So, with the exception of only one instrumental track, VRRV is a complete record from start to finish.

In a breath of fresh air, it appears that this newest outing is the first time, atleast in a very long time that it sounds like Zombie is just having fun now. With songs like Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga and Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Supertown, you can see the lack of seriousness. The songs are catchy and very sing-along. Tracks like Lucifer Rising and Teenage Nosferatu Pussy still pack a punch and show that Zombie isn’t leaving the metal realm completely like his previous outputs my suggest.

This is exactly what the album that Rob Zombie had to release at this stage of his career. With him starting to lean a little more towards his film career, it’s safe to say that he has reached his twilight and you never know when he’s going to pack it up musically. Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is such a solid album that even if he releases something else not as good before he calls it a day with music, he’ll still be able to say he went out on good note.