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White Zombie - It Came From NYC album review

Noise rockers’ OTT early years box set.

White Zombie It Came From NYC album cover

White Zombie were an unlikely fit for an arena rock act – and the fact that their commercial success was so short-lived due to the band imploding as soon as they started to make it might have some bearing on that. But as this collection bears out, White Zombie didn’t change, everyone else did.

These early, sometimes scratchy-sounding EPs and albums are proof positive that Rob Zombie and his band of misfits (pun intended) had their sound and look (imagine Mad Max in Day-Glo colours and you’re close) down pat from day one. Here was a quartet of horror movie, hollow-eyed scarecrows with a wall of amps that intermittently belched out movie samples, sirens and song titles that sounded like magnets you might find stuck on Tobe Hooper’s fridge: Love Razor, Slaughter The Grey, Drowning The Colossus, Cat’s Eye Resurrection.

Musically, and in terms of production too, it would take White Zombie a few years to catch up and crossover (even if that wasn’t their intention), but the insistent riffing is already in place. Ditto the eerie atmospherics and Rob’s strangled bark calling the devil down. To see White Zombie in their club days in New York City must have been like watching Rammstein and their fire show in its infancy; with one wary eye on the exit. Zombie guitarist J Yuenger might have remastered these songs, but the fire and spirit remain, one last monster demanding to be heard.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion.