Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 24: White Zombie, "Super-Charger Heaven"

Artist: White Zombie
Song: "Super-Charger Heaven"
Album: Astro Creep: 2000 - Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head
Year: 1995

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Over the long course of music history, there has never been a single genre that is so often maligned as that of heavy metal. Often written off as "nothing more than screaming and loud guitars," many people do not realize the amazing variance in sound and undeniable talent that can be found throughout the genre. Like any other style of music, there are a number of different sub-genres within heavy metal, and the genre contains just as many important and indispensable bands as any other style of music. One of the many metal-based bands that forever altered the landscape of music was the band that introduced an entire generation to this more aggressive style of rock: White Zombie. Exploding onto the mainstream music scene with their surprise 1993 hit, "Thunder Kiss '65," White Zombie proved to be one of the most creative and groove-driven metal bands in history. The groups' second major label record, 1995's Astro Creep: 2000 - Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head remains one of the most brilliant metal albums in history, with the album, as well as a trio of singles breaking into the top twenty on the charts. Among these amazing singles was one of White Zombie's most extraordinary musical explorations, and a song that perfectly encapsulated everything that made their music so unique, the albums' final single: "Super-Charger Heaven." Often incorrectly called "Devil Man" due to its chorus, "Super-Charger Heaven" remains one of the most powerful and absolutely phenomenal heavy metal songs in history.

While White Zombie had already found success in the single that preceded "Super-Charger Heaven," the unexpected popular "More Human Than Human," one can make the case that it is "Super Charger Heaven" that is more true to the groups' sound. Mixing together a handful of sound clips from older films, alongside White Zombie's consistently stunning brand of funky, groovy, heavy metal, "Super-Charger Heaven" is one of the most fantastically high-paced, heart-pumping songs ever created. In many ways, it is the groove that sets the music of White Zombie apart from the rest of the genre, and this is also one of the main reasons why the group was able to find more mainstream success. Without question one of the finest bass players of her generation, Sean Yseult is absolutely brilliant on "Super-Charger Heaven," as her bassline give the song a high-octane groove unlike that of anything else ever recorded. The other half of the rhythms section, drummer John Tempesta is perhaps best known for his work with the band Tempest, and Astro Creep: 2000 marks his debut with White Zombie. Yet perhaps the most stunning music aspect of "Super-Charger Heaven" comes from the guitar work of the man simply known as J. Having been the longest-running guitarist for White Zombie, J (real name: Jay Yuenger) presents one of his most powerful and creative guitar progressions. The core riff, as well as his soloing keep the groups' distinctive groove-metal firmly intact, yet he also creates one one of the most entrancing and original pieces in history, and the song is sure to whip any listener into a frenzy.

Yet as fantastic as the music is on "Super-Charger Heaven," nearly every White Zombie song comes down to one thing: the voice of Rob Zombie. There are very few performers of any style or any era that have as instantly recognizable a voice as Rob Zombie, and his powerful, growling scream has rarely sounded as good as it does on this song. Perfectly walking the middle ground between the scream of heavy metal and a menacing, wonderfully evil tone, it is constantly clear that Rob Zombie knows exactly how he wants the sound to be heard and felt, and it is often his vocal work that makes it so. One of the other fantastic aspects of the music of White Zombie is the way in which the lyrics and soundbytes reference many classic films and other moments in history. "Super-Charger Heaven" is no different, as the opening sound-clip is lifted from the original, 1963 version of the film, The Haunting. Later, one of the songs' most distinctive moments is the playing of actor Christoper Lee delivering the words, " is not heresy, and I will not recant" from the 1976 film, To The Devil A Daughter. The strange line of language later in the song is from the same film, and it is in fact Latin that roughly translates to: " are working in your heart, you are not God, never are you in unity and you are common, out of union in despite of God." The actual lyrics to the song fall along these same lines, as when Rob Zombie sings, "...bury me an angel, God I need some inspiration..." it is clearly a reference to the 1971 film, Bury Me An Angel. This brilliant ability to craft such amazing, complex textures into their music, as well as Rob Zombie's unmistakable voice is one of the key reasons why White Zombie remains one of the most highly respected bands in music history.

Standing tall against the idea of "every heavy metal band sounds the same," White Zombie are without question one of the most uniquely creative bands in music history. Taking the darker formula of heavy metal and fusing it together with an uncanny ability to groove, there has never been another band quite like White Zombie. The layers of sound, from the vocals to the music to the perfectly placed sound clips, White Zombie created some of the most original and simply fantastic music that the world has ever heard. Their second major-label album, Astro Creep: 2000 picked up where their previous record left off, and it is a wonderful collection of powerful, yet undeniably groovy heavy metal songs. As a band, White Zombie have rarely sounded better, and from the dizzying basswork of Yseult to the crushing guitar playing of J, "Super-Charger Heaven" perfectly captures everything that makes the band so extraordinary. Though Astro Creep: 2000 would be the bands' swan-song, they would have been hard pressed to end the band on a higher note, as every song on the record is superb, and it is without question one of the greatest heavy metal records ever made. Mixing together the pulverizing, yet hypnotic music alongside the magnificent vocal work of Rob Zombie, there are few songs that so perfectly prove that "not all heavy metal is the same" as White Zombie's 1995 tour dé force, "Super-Charger Heaven."


Frag said...

I'm with you on this one. I own exactly 2 discs that would qualify as metal, and this is one of them. On the rare occasion that I feel like bashing in my own head (or someone else's), this is what goes in the stereo. Song & album are just fuckin' brilliant.

Sylvain said...

Excellente cette chanson !!!!!