White Zombie, a band that would later become a seminal force in the heavy metal genre, had a humble and somewhat rocky start.
Their journey began with the release of their debut album, “Soul-Crusher,” in November 1987. Released independently by Silent Explosion, “Soul-Crusher” was an experimental take on the metal genre, reflecting the band’s early noise rock influences and raw artistic vision.
However, despite its daring approach, the album did not make a significant impact commercially or critically at the time of its release.
For their second swing at bat, 1989’s “Make Them Die Slowly”, the band abandoned their strictly punk-influenced noise rock and began moving towards the more heavy metal sound that they’d eventually become known for. Like “Soul-Crusher,” “Make Them Die Slowly” failed to connect critically or commercially.
While it did help the band start to manifest a cult following, it was, for our money at least, still an average album in which they hadn’t yet manifested the creative brilliance that was brewing inside of them. The true turning point for White Zombie came with album number three in 1992, with the brilliant “La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1.”
This album marked a departure from the abstract noise of their debut, embracing a more accessible yet still edgy and intense sound. “La Sexorcisto” combined heavy metal with groove-laden rhythms and Rob Zombie’s distinctive vocal style, creating a unique blend that resonated with a wider audience.
The success of “La Sexorcisto” was pivotal for White Zombie, establishing them as a major act in the metal scene. The album’s blend of horror-themed lyrics, robust guitar riffs, and a fusion of metal and industrial elements captivated listeners, leading to significant commercial success.
It also set the stage for their subsequent (and also brilliant) album, “Astro-Creep: 2000,” which continued their trajectory of success, becoming one of the defining albums of the genre.
White Zombie’s journey from two relatively lackluster full lengths to a genre-defining third album is a testament to their ability to evolve and adapt, showcasing the band’s resilience and creative growth.