Rob Zombie – Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor
Roadrunner Records; Loud & Proud
Rob Zombie does himself no favors by kicking off his fifth solo effort with the song “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” – aside from a title that sounds like parody, the tune itself finds Rob unconvincingly announcing that he is “the sickness” over his nth modern rock monster stomp. This material is destined for a strip club in 2005, and our boy seems to have accepted it. The only moment where Venomous Rat can be taken seriously is the techno metal hybrid “Rock and Roll (In a Black Hole)” wherein Rob uses nü-metal only to accent some nifty, spaced-out turntable pulsating. Still, overall: This album is less ham-fisted than R.Z.’s last two film efforts and you get a Grand Funk cover, so … victory? – James Greene Jr.
Ghostface Killah – Twelve Reasons to Die
Soul Temple Music
Is it any surprise a rapper who’s been proclaiming the greatness of Iron Man since before Rob Downey got clean has written his own comic and released this, the comic’s Morricone-inspired soundtrack? No, and it’s also no surprise that this works even without the ink and paper. Ghostface (under the production tutelage of RZA and Adrian Younge) weaves a tight, engaging story via heaps of organ-centric beats, melancholy backup angels and his own forceful rhyming style. The “Center of Attraction” and “Enemies All Around Me” crescendo is particularly stirring. If there are any complaints here, it’s that Twelve Reasons is too short. – JG
Kid Cudi – Indicud
Wicked Awesome Records; Republic Records
One of the game’s wunderkinds returns with a dense, firmly sexual experience that seeks to liberate your mind just as much as your cargo pants. Cudi’s made some noise about this album being less chill than his prior work, and yes, there is a new intensity and vigor showcased on Indicud, but latent “chill” vibes exist – particularly when “Afterwards,” sure to be one of the summer’s most-played party jams, slows down in its second half to bleed a THC-friendly type of sensuality. I question the artist’s decision to sample Billy Madison, but I can’t knock an album with an opener as driving as “Unfuckwittable” simply for giving props to an Adam Sandler film. – JG
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