June 27, 1995 in Features

Zombie Grabs Audience With Heavy Metal

Joe Ehrbar Correspondent
 

White Zombie Thursday, June 22, Spokane Convention Center

You’ve got to hand it White Zombie. Not only has the band recorded some of the most interesting metal/ industrial music as of late, but the L.A.-based group also has one heck of live show going.

Thursday, White Zombie gave a heavy-metal monster mash at the Convention Center.

After pleasantly torturous sets from the supporting bands, the Melvins and Babes in Toyland, White Zombie woke from the dead and wound up in an old cemetery (where the stage once was) complete with tied-up dead ghouls, skulls on towering stakes, and lights that resembled a cavalcade of candles.

An avalanche of clips from ‘50s scifi/horror films and racy B-movies flooded the movie screen hoisted at the back of the stage.

And, of course, the cliche rock show pyrotechnics were detonated regularly throughout the band’s set.

Even if the quartet of zombies refrained from using a lavish set to wreak havoc, they would still have grabbed the audience by the neck and rocked it into oblivion.

The band was that good.

White Zombie’s brand of B-movie, comic book array of heavy-metal songs breathe a reviving breath into the dying genre.

It’s as if heavy metal was created for a band like this. White Zombie has everything a great metal band should have: the shock appeal, the animation, demented artwork, the mysterious and sinister appearance, durable music and the ability to expand outside its genre.

The band didn’t play for much more than an hour, but no one felt slighted by the short set.

Here’s why: Unlike most bands, it doesn’t take White Zombie any time to build into its set. The fearsome foursome’s show reaches its peak immediately and stays there for the duration of the show.

Despite what its moniker might indicate, the four members of White Zombie doesn’t play like a pack of zombies.

Hurling themselves around the stage like a pack of wild banshees on the loose, frontman Rob Zombie, bassist Sean Yseult and guitarist J. expend more energy in a short span of time than most marathon runners.

Most of Zombie’s show emphasized the new songs from the band’s industrial-spruced new album “Astro-Creep: 2000.”

The band also threw in its first hit “Thunder Kiss ‘65” and “Children of the Grave” from the “Nativity in Black” Black Sabbath tribute album.

White Zombie’s prowl ended with one of the band’s most enthralling pieces, the driving, surreal and tribal “Blood Milk and Sky.”

For 45 minutes, the Melvins, whose set maintained the pace of a lethargic snail, conducted a grunge workshop.

It taught the audience all the necessary ingredients of a good grunge band: pounding rhythms, sloooooowly executed music, gravelly vocals and a powder keg of low-end, distorted and droning riffage.

Grunge is the Melvins, as they proved. Grunge is not Pearl Jam, Candlebox, Mother Love Bone and most other Seattle bands.

The crowd offered mixed reactions toward the Minneapolis all-girl band Babes in Toyland.

Some people liked their brash and often ragged angle of heavy punk. Other mindless thugs blurted: “You stink! You ugly bitch!”

Occasionally, Babes in Toyland, whose attack is meant to be ugly, harsh and discordant, stumbled upon some beautiful songs like the Spanish-influenced, “22” where singer/guitarist Kat Bjeiland’s vocals surfed atop a wavy guitar.

ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo


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