Rob Zombie’s unmistakeable brand of industrial metal, full of samples, techno beats and groove-heavy riffs, has long lent itself to dance remixes. Indeed, two collections of such revisions of White Zombie and solo classics already exist (1996’s ‘Supersexy Swingin Sounds’ and 1999’s ‘American Made Music To Strip By’), so Mondo Sex Head comes as a welcome appetiser for Zombie fans ahead of a US/European tour later this year and a new album of original material, expected to surface in 2013.
Not that all fans will appreciate Zombie’s gift. It’s hard to imagine the purist metalhead contingent within his fanbase being too welcoming towards the host of dubstep, drum and bass and electronica artists that put their stamps on these headbanging classics — but for those ready to get on board, a treat awaits.
Opening with a thudding house rhythm, the reworking of White Zombie’s ‘Thunder Kiss 65’ by JDevil (DJ moniker of KoRn frontman Jonathan Davis) borrows the original, unforgettable verse riff and puts it to a heavily processed beat, before launching into a glorious digital noise-bath of a chorus. After a relatively safe easing-in, however, Photek’s spacey revision of ‘Living Dead Girl’ is nigh on unrecognisable, transforming the Zombie classic into a seven-minute electronic trip.
Other tracks offer similarly impressive mutations: Ki:Theory, who has two credits on the album, gives a dark techno facelift to the bar room blues of ‘Pussy Liquor’, but places spare piano chords beneath the hook of ‘Foxy Foxy’ to convert it into a startlingly soberer song. The Bloody Beetroots, meanwhile, give ‘Burn’ a fat shot of adrenaline to its chorus with a pounding, bass-heavy dance-punk beat.
Not all of the contributors on ‘Mondo Sex Head’ take to the songs with such creativity, though. Drumcorps might add more layers to ‘Never Gonna Stop’ but Zombie’s original riffs, largely untouched, remain the only driving force of the track, and the Kraftwerk-esque makeover of ‘Dragula’ by ††† (Deftones’ Chino Moreno) starts promisingly but fails to reconcile the 80s dancehall backing track with the macho vocal.
Most songs on the album — road-tested (literally) by Rob Zombie himself in his car on the streets of LA — don’t suffer from this however, and special mention should be given to Das Kaptial’s reworking of ‘Lords of Salem’, which does tremendously well not only to successfully work in a dubstep maelstrom of samples and sounds, but also to produce a chorus that’s sludgier, heavier, and — dare I say it — more remarkable than the original. And the reason tracks such as this succeed so well as remixes is because they demonstrate the artists’ true appreciation and understanding of the material — and if a bunch of talented knob-twiddlers and vinyl-scratchers can learn to love Rob Zombie, there’s no reason the average headbanger shouldn’t be able to love ‘Mondo Sex Head’.
Rated 8 out of 10