Sound — 9
Rob Zombie's 1998 solo effort, Hellbilly Deluxe yielded a bunch of hits that spilled from the radio airwaves ad nauseum. You have to remember them: Dragula and Living Dead Girl were all over the airwaves at the end of that decade. It was really an extension of the sound that the vocalist rode to multi-platinum success with his band, White Zombie. Rob Zombie has always been counted on to craft crunchy hard rock that is palatable for pop music fans who might like a little edge. Sure, it's not as edgy as extreme metal bands, but it is edgy hard rock, thanks to the horror-themed lyrics and look that Zombie is so fond of! While Hellbilly Deluxe 2 doesn't ignore or obliterate what came in between it and the original, which is two albums, it does feel like the next logical step from that particular album and does pick up where the original Hellbilly left off. It's not like Zombie is cashing in on his past; he's always had a signature sound and this album feels like the chronological companion piece to the mega-selling version that came out over a decade ago! Go ahead and take a listen to Sick Bubblegum and try not to sing along or hum the chorus. Zombie remains as deft as ever with making a melody stick to your ribs and your brain! Jesus Frankenstein and Mars Need Women are also fun, plugged in romps!
Lyrics — 8
It wouldn't be a Rob Zombie record if it didn't have some degree of horror movie references he is an acclaimed director in the genre, lest we forget- as well as B-movie kitsch. If you like The Munsters and gore, then Hellbilly Deluxe will work for you. Try not to pump your fist in the air when Rob sings, Chew it up, spit it out, sick bubblegum. It might not make a whole lot of philosophical sense, but it sure goes down the gullet in a good way.
Overall Impression — 8
Rob Zombie's pop metal edge hasn't been blunted despite his forays into the mainstream's eye with appearances on Howard Stern, by directing big budget Hollywood remakes of horror classics or by winning awards at horror movie conventions! He's still playing by his rules, yukking it up with zombies, werewolves and other creatures in his semi-processed vocals, which are accompanied by razor-sharp riffery. For those who are mostly fond of Rob Zombie's musical output, Hellbilly Deluxe, Version 2.0 won't and does not disappoint. Honestly, the only marked difference is that the artist has dissolved his long relationship with Geffen and defected to Loud & Proud, an imprint of Roadrunner, to release the album.