WHITE ZOMBIE – Released back in good ‘ol 1989, Make Them Die Slowly was the second full-length album from White Zombie, (the first full-length being Soul Crusher, released in 1987). The late ’80′s was an ultra-terrific time for Heavy Metal, only the “wave of glory” of commercial acceptance and attention was starting to drift swiftly towards the Grunge movement, by 1990. White Zombie came upon the scene in ’87 with their brand of Noise Rock, eventually indulging into various music styles, while still keeping the heaviness intact. Industrial, Groove, Funk and Heavy Metal were Metal styles that White Zombie incorporated together all so well. Many articles and Rock historians also refer White Zombie to the Post-Thrash genre as well.
I can openly admit, that this Make Them Die Slowly CD has been in my possession since it’s 1989 release and I cannot part with it. The first reason for this is I really, really, dig this White Zombie album and band. Even in it’s unpolished grandeur, this is White Zombie breaking down some serious status quo. This band was where it all began for Rob Zombie! The second reason is, it is out of print. My original 1989 CD version of Make Them Die Slowly is selling for $169.88 (U.S. funds) as a “used” copy on Amazon.com… and there is currently only “one” for sale there! Whoa, baby, whoa.
There is a 1993 reissue version of Make Them Die Slowly for sale on Amazon.com, selling for $99.99 as “new” and $16.99 as “used”, all in U.S. funds. That is a dramatic drop in the selling price, when comparing the “used” version from 1989 to that of the 1993 reissue. In all Metal honesty, I was not aware of the “actual” value of my CD discussed here, not until today. I always knew it was an original pressing from 1989 and the value would be a bit high… only this is far out amazing to me! In hindsight, I wish I had purchased a dozen copies or more of Make Them Die Slowly back in ’89!
My cousin Randy is to blame for my buying this White Zombie CD back in ’89. He used to manage a combination collectibles and record store that was very, very cool. I would go there just about every day for a number of years, from the mid ’80′s right up to the mid ’90′s. I would cash my paycheck at this store… leaving with enough money to buy beer and gas. The rest of my hard earned loot would go into buying CD’s, tapes, vinyl, sports cards and comics. Those were the days… I know. I no longer buy sports cards or comics, just in case you were wondering.
Randy would always have his finger on “the pulse” of Rock ‘N’ Roll and Heavy Metal. If there was a new and cool band to check out… Randy knew about ‘em. There was that one visit to his store, where he had Make Them Die Slowly on display… and Randy wasn’t talking me out of buying it. Thanks Randy! Man, this cool cousin of mine had landed me some fine picture discs of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Motorhead too. Many bands he steered into the direction of my ears… Fight is one that stands out, back in ’93. When Rob Halford left Judas Priest, whoa… that was a big deal back then. Randy is still alive and doing just fine… just in case you are wondering.
When I first listened to Make Them Die Slowly, I realized rather quickly that White Zombie was not the stereotypical ’80′s Arena Rock or Heavy Metal Band. Rather, White Zombie was a band totally different from what I was used to hearing… this band wasn’t Thrash, Traditional Metal, NWOBHM or straight up Hard Rock. This White Zombie band caught me off guard and I initially liked what I was listening to. Sure, this band was “different”, only they were not lean on the heavy side of the Metal aisle and the vocals of Rob Zombie sounded too fiendishly bizarre for me to pass over.
Back in ’89, I felt like I stumbled on some “underground” band that not many people knew about. I never gave it a second thought, as to White Zombie becoming anything special anyhow. Listening to what I liked was the main priority then, as it is now. This White Zombie album was never going to be exalted as a masterpiece, no way. The production across the board is raw and steely on Make Them Die Slowly, arguably an album of demos… not anywhere near the overall sound and production that their 1992 studio album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 would radiate. (That album is a multi-million unit seller and still makes my prehistoric stereo speakers smoke).
In the midst of all the styles of Heavy Music that White Zombie seemed to tap into, there is always that “sliver” of Punk that I seem to catch onto with their music. Acid Flesh may have it’s non-stop groove and sparse funkiness about it, still it walks a fine line with the Punk flirtation. The same can be said for Power Hungry, only the guitar licks are crunchy enough to make any Punk comparison an extremely mild one. “Demonspeed” carries such a raw atmosphere of sound, it isn’t far fetched to think it’s a live recording during the first half minute it plays. If there is one constant to be heard on this album, it’s that this White Zombie band played with a fiery enthusiasm that my ears cannot dismiss away. “Demonspeed” is one Heavy mutha’ of a song and is my favorite on this album.
Revenge is fueled with enough kick ass, thunder-stomp Metal that it is dizzying. The repeated riff that gives Revenge it’s Metal bite, is extremely close to that of Tony Iommi’s signature riff from Zero The Hero, heard on the 1983 Black Sabbath album – Born Again. Godslayer plays at 7:14 long and is the “epic” on this album. Rob Zombie’s vocals on Godslayer gives way to the notion that maybe he was a fan of Glenn Danzig. I never picked up on the vocal similarities between Rob Zombie and Glenn Danzig, while listening to Godslayer so many years ago. This is the only song where I feel any vocal similarities between these two Metal heavyweights exists. I’m certain though, that it is all coincidental anyways. Maybe.
The overall Heavy Groove and styles that Make Them Die Slowly breathes was another solid building block towards the Metal that Rob Zombie was to eventually release as a solo superstar. Truthfully, listening to this White Zombie album is like listening to the Rob Zombie blueprint and dancing skeletons to his future. To usher in the ’90′s with a band as heavily diverse as White Zombie, probably means more to me now than it did then. I never cared to figure out really, the “fad” sound of any decade. White Zombie was no fad… this was as legit of a Heavy Band as any genre could grasp.
As I look back on the doorstep to the ’90′s, White Zombie was the band that snuck in through the front door and made themselves very comfortable in the hearts, minds and ears of more than just this Metalhead. This is “one of those” Metal albums that I appreciate more in 2010 than I probably did back in ’89. Maybe my growing appreciation lies in the fact, that White Zombie made me realize that it was cool to diversify the Metal menu, having me look upon them now, over two decades later, as Metal innovators.
WHITE ZOMBIE as they appeared on Make Them Die Slowly:
* Note: In doing my Metal research, I have read that John Ricci did not play guitar on Make Them Die Slowly. However, John Ricci is in the group photo found in the liner notes of this CD, with his name appearing below him. I have come across, through Metal research, that John Ricci left White Zombie the day Make Them Die Slowly was completed… due to having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I am going with that he played guitar on this album… unless a credible source “close” to the recording of this album can tell me otherwise.
Rob Zombie – vocals
John Ricci – guitar
Ivan DePrume - drums
Sean Yseult - bass guitar
Track Listing For Make Them Die Slowly:
* More Metal research about Make Them Die Slowly, revealed the following: that “some” CD’s were released with the printing on the liner notes “spine” being incorrect. The “incorrect” spelling or error is: Let Them Die Slowly… appears on the spine. “Let” and not “Make” is the error. My CD version has this error on the liner notes spine… take a look at the pic below to see for yourself:
As you can also see from the above pic, Rob Zombie is one damn cool illustrator!
* Make Them Die Slowly was produced by Bill Laswell
* Make Them Die Slowly was originally released in 1989, on Caroline.
* As stated in the liner notes: All Lyrics – Rob Zombie, All Music – White Zombie and All Illustrations – Rob Zombie.
* The liner notes show “one” Special Thanks, it goes to… Rock & Punk Legend… Iggy Pop.
Here is the White Zombie band photo that is in the liner notes.
From left to right: Ivan DePrume, John Ricci, Sean Yseult and Rob Zombie.
Here is an illustration that is in the liner notes, drawn by Rob Zombie:
The above illustration has the words: “Bite Down Sucker” in top right corner. “Hell” is spelled out on the fist of the monster dude.
LONG LIVE THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL OF WHITE ZOMBIE!