Voyage to the Voodoo Moon: White Zombie: REVIEWS

I will be using this space to showcase old show reviews, album reviews and interview excerpts about White Zombie. If you have any to contribute (especially around Make Them Die Slowly/La Sexorcisto), please e-mail me and I will post them and credit you. I have organized these articles, reviews, etc. chronologically. Where a date was not given, I assigned a placement in the sequence based on the information in the given document. The reviews begin below this table.

Below is a wicked flyer from the Soul-Crusher tour. Some of you may recognize the design from a t-shirt that J is wearing on the La Sexorcisto CD inner sleeve.

[May 5, Soul Crusher Tour]

And now, on to the reviews......

Live @ CBGB's Friday 13, 1987 from The Village Voice, March 24, 1987.

by M. Smith

To The Bone

........At CBGB Friday the 13th, White Zombie bit into something big,
warm and juicy. They had the junk slot, the 2a.m. mop-up most hear on the way out,
but a good assembly of locals stayed on, knowing, perhaps, what they'd miss if they
left. White Zombie is a foursome capable of an intensity just about unmatched in
town. Their snaggle-toothed, meticulously rehearsed metallic disrythmia at CBGB
and a month ago at the Love Club (soon to close at its current Lismar Lounge location),
made for the two best shows I've seen lately, and if their LP Psychohead Blowout,
out next month, is half as good, that's good.
There's stuff about cannibalistic cardinals sucking the whirlpool dry on their '85 single
"Slaughter the Grey", but you couldn't hear the lyrics live, you couldn't hear nothing,
except singer Rob Straker's nasal voice ascending over the swamps. This bluesless
wail thrives on a rhythym section--drummer Ivan Deprume and bassist Sean Yseult--that's
fat and fleet (and rehearsed ), setting a pattern up only to throw the accents
in reverse, to chop off the beat the next time the pattern reappears. Straker lets his
freak flag fly, hair spinning like crazy, corpus bouncing off the floor into the air,
mangling itself, then doing it some more. Anthropologists say even if cannibalism
doesn't exist, most cultures have myths about it, it's sunk deep into the unconscious.
White Zombie has a bone to pick.


[March 13 flyer]


Two small clips/gig announcements from the VILLAGE VOICE

April 28, 1987

White Zombie: Seethisband. Seethisband. Seethisband. Go.
Something like metal fast and fleet doubling back on itself with the cramps. Also: Pussy Galore.
April 23, Cat Club. 76 East 13th Street (Smith).

[April 23 flyer]

August 4, 1987

White Zombie: Their recent EP Psycho-Head Blowout reams the cranium quite nicely,
but the live show will really open your skull. One of New Yorks' best bands.

July 30, Tramps, 125 East 15th Street. (Simmons).



WHITE ZOMBIE "Soul Crusher" Silent Explosion Records *** ( 3 stars)

(from SOUNDS January 9, 1988)

GIVE a random selection of diagnosed psychopaths a powerful expectorant,
score the grunge and you'd get White Zombie by any other name. No melody, little arrangement,
just a cacophony of unlovely, forbidding noise that bloodies the nose of rock 'n' roll.
It's an exorcism of sorts, a ritual flogging of convention that dismembers
early Sabbath and then sews it back together with catgut, rivetting and stapling the seams tight.
Swamp Thing shaking off a bear trap sounds like this, so does a car committing
suicide. Vocalist Rob Straker spouts a plain clothes phantasmagoria of imagery while
guitar notes burn up like fruit flies against the lumbering beat, one hot white bulb about to
implode. Compelling in its ugliness, the Zombie's second album, is fit to serenade the rats
that live between the subway tracks.
This runaway train ("like a shack of hate") takes no turns and make no stops,
it just goes into itself, a black, undifferentiated lava flow of burdensome metals.
Not a pretty record.


Here's a review of the album SOUL CRUSHER from Melody Maker, Feb 13, 1988.

White Zombie
Soul Crusher

by Billy Lucas

JUST what is a "slug motion dinosaur"? Have you ever had a "cannibal
collision American girl suckin' your gut"? Do you find the phrase
"some kind of portable radio melted into her screaming legs"
horrifying or just a bit of a ribtickler?....Christ what a lyric sheet!
White Zombie look for all the world like some transatlantic
truants from the grebo reform school of 1987 with singer Rob Straker
a dead ringer for headboy Zod. Don't be fooled, this is no weedybop cash-in
on the doomed British bandwagon and its toothless hype, this is serious
Noo Yawk Art Metal. Imagine Beetheart in painfully tight trousers
trying to scream his way over Sonic Youth and The Birthday Party playing
different songs in the same room. It's stranger. This is their debut
LP release and it was recorded in approximately the same length of time
it takes to listen to it. Its great and all the heavyweight US critics
think so too which must be a little alarming for the Zombies as hot press
stateside is about as useful as a vegan milkfloat when it comes to
shifting units anywhere else on the planet.
The last track on side one is called "Die Zombie Die" and contains a
line that shall remain with me goes like this,
"What's in store? Fleshy jaws." This man is a poet.


White Zombie, Gothic Hut and more TBA at Alcohol Salad.
from LA WEEKLY May 27-June 2, 1988

Finally, a New York rock band (Ramones excepted) actually worth going to see and
attempt to actually listen to: a sickly combo of Zodiac Mindwarp and Butthole Surfers, the
White Zombies assault listeners with an aural and visual onslaught of vicious, shambling
noise, equal parts riffy rock and max-volume shrieks of damned-for-eternity sufferation.
They've been perfecting this sonic horrorshow for several years now, and evidently
any kinks, bugs, shards of stupidity and gobbets of pretension have been removed.
Guaranteed loud and attention grabbing.


Yet another review of the album SOUL CRUSHER from Melody Maker, June 4, 1988.

White Zombie
Soul Crusher

by David Stubbs

FROM the Pussy Galore strain of piss-off wrought iron thrash and
trash, White Zombie have all the right titles--"Ratmouth", "Diamond Ass", etc., the right
name and.....well, "Soul Crusher" is just right. This is more of the right stuff, spilling
slammer guitars, scrawling vocals, a lumpen entangelment of metal ideas spewed forth
incessantly that amount to something inadvertantly sulbime--"Shock Of Hate"
[misspelled in article], for instance, is as elaborate as the twisted patterns thrown up by a car crash.
Their hallmark is a rather neat, hollowed out psychadelic guitar noise that cuts diagonal
swaths through the thrashscape like the wind rushing through a kitchen. I'm reminded once
again that if White Zombie were British, they would be writing over-rated football chants for
the edification of journalists of other music papers, before being consigned to obscurity after
a three-week rock life of urinating for the benefit of paparazzi photographers and chasing
bimbos round ligs.
But there is still a pocket of soiled but unspoiled air in America where a certain kind of
thrash moronocism can sustain its good name. This is more Jackson Pollock than vomit stain
and let's have more.


WHITE ZOMBIE : Soul Crusher (Silent Explosion)
from FACES ROCKS June 1988

Ugly, noisy, and totally stimulating, Soul Crusher opens
with a Night of the Living Dead sample: "the killers are eating the flesh of the
people they murdered", which should clue ya into what these ogres are up to.
Black Sabbath decomposing in a sargasso sea of dissonant crush-riffs, filthy
feedback, and oozing guitar licks, surmounted by Rob Straker's maniacal razorblades-in-throat
screech and frighteningly surreal word-play. Things like "Ratmouth",
"Drowning the Colossus" and "Diamond Ass" are heavy metal in the most literal sense of the
word: a grotesque pounding that storms your aural and psychic barriers.
Get your innoculation from PO Box 1364, Cooper Station, NY, NY 10276.


[I Walked With A Zombie]


Creem presents THRASH METAL

by David Sprague

A zombie-textbook definition-ain't the kind of creature you oughta be
messin' with. Stoked up on some sorta curare-based voodoo potion (the kind
that works wonders on your central nervous system), the members of the waking dead
trance-walk their way through colorful, generally kill-centric (after)lives under the control
of some hopelessly psychotic junglelord. In Hollywood's interpretation of zombiedom,
you don't need to look any further than the eyes to spot a (so to speak) live un'.
That hooded, pupilless glaze also masks the faces of those "artists" who're the
furthest out there. For reference check out any handy pix of, say, Screamin' Jay Hawkins
or Jerry Lee Lewis. Or White Zombie's Rob Straker. As low-key offstage as he is, inna live
performance, Straker (and the three other Zombiefolk, for that matter) is
quite obviously being jerked & twisted by some unseen hand. Speaking in tongues,
whipping his ratty dreadlocks around like an amphetamine-soaked epileptic, Straker proves
himself a true shaman.
He emits a brief snort when he hears that description, but stops well short
of offering one of his own. Neither Straker, guitarist Tom Five, bassist Sean Yseult,
or drummer Ivan DePrume wanna cement a definitive White Zombie description. They are
adamant about lettin' people know what they're not.
"An art band", Straker sneers. "That's the worst thing anyone could
say about us." And that is the way critics've pigeonholed their sludge squeal
around their NYC homebase. Admittedly, various members did attend art school
in New York. "I was kicked out, though, " insists Rob.
"Yeah, and we're changing the story anyway," shrugs Tom. "It wasn't an art
school, it was a trade school. I was studying to be a cook."
The oft applied "noise" tag is a little more understandable if you spin their
newest LP Soul-Crusher, or last year's Psychohead Blowout (or even their pair of
impossible to find 1985 singles). There's a longstanding New York tradition of metallic
(w/o being "metal") grinding, scraping, industrial sounds inflicting serious cranial damage
upon all-too-willing mobs. From a surface gleen of their Metallica jamming
in a moving subway car fulla idling lawnmowers scree, the placement of White Zombie
among, say, Sonic Youth/Pussy Galore/Live Skull would be reasonable.
"No!" Straker dissagrees. "We just got called a noise band because we had
such shitty equipment. It was like playing through cheap stereo speakers. It's so funny
because in New York, no one will ever admit they're a noise band-even those who
know they are. But when you get outta the city, everyone's dying to be called a
noise band. They all think it's this really swingin' scene."
"I'm sure all the hardcore bands who've gone rock 'n' roll will go noise next,"
chuckles Five. "If they've already gone through their glam phase," Straker mutters.
That's unlikely to be a phase in White Zombie's future. Even though they've
moved to a "real" label-Caroline-and no longer have to self-press discs on their own
Silent Explosion label, they ain't livin' high. The four of 'em rolled into Los Angeles one June
morning on no sleep, following a disasterous San Fransisco gig and a few days of staying
in their windowless van.
"What really sucked in San Fransisco wa seeing all these....hippies pan
handling everywhere," Five says. "No, the worst was those guys walking around with acoustic guitars like
they had a song in their hearts," Straker membles with a shake of his locks. "That made me
sick to my stomach. I really can't handle stuff like that."
From a guy who regularly pens such lyrics as: Yea, mechanized death/this
is what you need/Las Vegas loser/A fuckin' crazy horse/violent satisfaction/switching
the body/to a shack of hate/automation/the skin buckles/this is what you need/A flesh
surrender/crucifixion burns/sex mutilation....
("Shack of Hate")
and screams those words like a man being dipped headfirst into a vat of hydrochloric acid,
that shouldn't be a surprise. There's a wide swath of dark humor, however, in songs like
"Die, Zombie, Die" and "Pig Heaven" that most folks might miss.
"I think it's funny when people read the lyrics and say 'This guy takes
himself so seriously,'" grins Straker, adding "All the songs on the next record rhyme,
and so people don't have too much trouble, we're going to code them.....a smiley face for
a happy song...." "Yah, and you're trying to be more sensitive, right?" queries Sean.
"Well the word 'love' pops up more now," Rob confirms.
"But it's expressed as hate," explains Tom. "Senseless violence."
"Wacky violence,"Rob nods happily.
Though that operative adjective might be hard to buy, a browse through
the LP artwork-which issues from the collective pens of Sean 'n' Rob (who,
incidentally, spend their daytimes as "real" artists)- will bear out the sheer comedy of
the whole thing. Some people never get it.
"We've opened for the Circle Jerks and there were alot of people into it,"
Straker recalls, "but they also draw alot of kids who were like 'Fuck You!' There were so
many people there, though, that even if almost everybody hated it, it was still a good
response." Responses on their just-completed debut tour ranged from indifference
to wild abandon, a state of affairs that hardly came as a surprise to the four, all of whom
seem to genuinely love touring (even with all those nights sleepin' in the van). Recording,
however, they have a little difficulty with, largely becasue they've only had one
day to record/mix/generally create each of their releases. Though it may sound
like a hip way of doing things, the reasoning is purely financial.
"It's easy, but I don't think we'd do it if we had the money to go longer,"
Straker says. "Lots of fuck-ups stay in that shouldn't."
"Yeah," Sean laughs. "We get 'em pressed and it's like 'Oh, no!'"
"It's really bad sometimes," Rob confirms. "With the last record, our producer
wouldn't do anything we told him to, and he kept smoking pot and falling asleep.
Wharton (Tiers, who produced Soul-Crusher) just sat there and did exactly what we asked.
He did that really well but...."
"We really do need more direction sometimes," Sean finishes the thought.
"We know what we want, but we're pretty inexperienced in the studio."
They're trying to change that right about now, having spent a precedent-setting
four days in the studio (talk about sell-out!) recording an LP for
late fall release. Post-interview, the band also changed guitarists, replacing Tom Five
with a suitably mangy guy by the name o' John Ricci. The sound, maintain the others,
will remain pretty much the same.
"Well, the new stuff is pretty close to being metal," suggests Sean.
" I don't know if you'd really call it 'metal' but there's a lot more focus to it. The songs are
more like....songs." "Yeah," Rob confirms. "And now I get to say 'let's rock!' a lot too. That's important."


[Zombies Return]


from KERRANG Nov 5, 1988

New York Metalheads White Zombie are currently working on a new album,
as yet untitled, for the Caroline Label.
Produced by Bill Laswell,(who's worked with Motorhead and Iggy Pop), the album will be a
follow-up to last year's "Soul Crusher". Recording will commence when guitarist John
Ricci recovers from a mysterious hand injury currently afflicting him.


WHITE ZOMBIE Soul-Crusher (Silent Explosion)
from ROCKPOOL --"picks"--December 31, 1988

As a vivid auralization of sheer rage and queasy nightmares,
this record has few peers. Stun-gun guitar and a pummeling vertabra combine with
stream-of-conciousness lyrics screamed twang-style, by a guy I
wouldn't trust my cutlery to, to produce intensely damaged dirtbag rock from a band that
knows exactly what it's doing, though you probably haven't a clue. This is the sort of
stuff you could only live vicariously through, for the moment you experience what White Zombie
is describing is the moment you start rotting away in a very small, vermin-infested cell.

Each of Soul-Crusher's 10, er, tunes opens with screeching shards of feedback
followed by a relentless assault of metal-based artillery so sure in its purpose and
so fresh in (literal) execution that, taken in one dose, they'll make you ache. A real bad ache.
But, admit it, sometimes that's exactly what you need. As "Ratmouth" and
"Drowning the Colossus" prove, this is extreme rock music, the kind that can only be found
under a rock. And it is bound not to stay there for long.


Review of Make Them Die Slowly!

WHITE ZOMBIE : Make Them Die Slowly (CAROLINE)
from East Coast ROCKER

White Zombie have somewhat abandoned their former
punk-noise-doom sound in favor of one faintly reminiscent of slower cuts off Slayer's
South of Heaven. It's a good move on their part. This very dark, ominous
sounding, drone-heavy album has more of a melodic, directly-metal tinge than their previous
work, more intricate arrangements, all-over better production. The best tunes are
"Revenge" and "Acid Flesh" which gives you an idea of the subject matter.
White Zombie sound like the house band for the depths of hell. That's a compliment.


Review of the God of Thunder EP in Melody Maker, January 27, 1990.

God Of Thunder

by Everett True (in the SINGLES section)

THIS one kicks some serious ass. I think that's all you need to know,
except perhaps, White Zombie hail from NYC, are produced by Daniel Rey, bring us
the head of Gene Simmons and will shortly be playing on these shores. Check 'em out,
dudes, check 'em out. One day, all reviews will be written this way.


Live @ Fulham Greyhound, London from Melody Maker, February 10, 1990.

by Sharon O'Connell ( how wrong can you get??)

White Zombie appear tonight like cabaret after the main event. Seriously
hairy and all, the only shred of dread is there under the vocalist's cap. They sound much
like Zodiac Mindwarp with a bad head, and what their psychotronic thundering is about,
God only knows. It's heavy alright, but hangs to uncomfortably close to humour to really
White Zombie are simple musical thuggery--undeniably powerful but dumb as hell.


Voyage to the Voodoo Moon :