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CD Reviews:  Rob Zombie: Sinister Urge

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Brian Johnson once said that AC/DC tries to release essentially the same album every three years, with a new title. I'm guessing Rob Zombie and his band of ghoulish outlaws attended the same rock school. But rest assured, what The Sinister Urge lacks in originality and ground-breaking content, it makes up for in sheer straight-forwardness with its uncompromising and hardcore brand of energetic strip club rock.

"Hey, do ya' love me, I'm untouchable darkness / A dirty black river, to get you through this," Zombie grunts on the opening lick "Demon Speeding," an immediate favorite. In blatantly cocky fashion, the crusty warlock realizes his fans of past solo and White Zombie projects need not fear! "The Sinister Urge" sticks with the same proven formula that helped Rob's original band stake its claim, and manages to stray even less from his first solo record, 1998's Hellbilly Deluxe. Dark, demonic lyrics and that thundering rhythm section has again served Zombie well. "Feel So Numb" explodes onto the rock radio scene with every bit the testosterone of 1998's "Dragula," while "Never Gonna Stop" all but guarantees chart success. The real teeth of this record, however, are displayed when Zombie ventures (even if slightly) from the predictable pounding club beats, and carefully inserts a brass horn section on "(Go To) California." While the riffs are the same, the result is uniquely better when a sparse trumpet part appears. Then he even pulls his best Depeche Mode impersonation on "House of 1,000 Corpses," the album's final chapter. Such an apparent fearlessness is refreshing, as it offsets the tired, repeated sampling of B-grade horror films between tracks that have long become his trademark shtick. 

As long as you don't expect Rob Zombie to take you to a totally new place, you won't be disappointed with The Sinister Urge. If it's full throttle, no-holds-barred, dance club heavy metal that you're craving, then Zombie and the boys can slop your plate full. When Ozzy Osbourne steps in for a cameo on, what else, "Iron Head," you get the feeling that this latest record has been legitimized. And if you've got a problem with that…take it up with Rob!

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