The final “true” White Zombie album, Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction And Other Synthetic Delusions Of The Electric Head, more affectionately (and succinctly) known as Astro-Creep: 2000, has Rob Zombie’s wildly creative stamp all over it. Meshing multiple genres of music with cult film samples and acid trip imagery, this wonderfully weird crossover masterpiece became an instant classic.
Released on 11 April 1995, it competed against other heavy-hitters releases that year from Björk, Pulp, Radiohead, and Oasis and was the most successful White Zombie release to date. With over 2.6 million copies sold in the US, it was certified double-platinum, hitting No.6 on the coveted Billboard 200 list, nabbing two Grammy nominations and proved to be a major favourite of Kerrang! magazine.
Along with bassist Sean Yseult and guitarist Jay Yuenger, Zombie added keyboardist Charlie Clouser from Nine Inch Nails and renowned drummer John Tempesta of The Cult, Testament and Exodus fame, to create and implement the industrial element for this album. It may be argued that Astro-Creep: 2000 was a defining 90s crossover metal album, teetering on the fringe of both grunge rock and metal with a solid industrial thread woven throughout. Thanks to Tempesta and Clouser, it was a departure from the groove-laden previous 1992 release, La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume One.
Though much heavier, Astro-Creep: 2000 still maintains an undeniable down-tuned groove that doom metal lovers will appreciate. The cult horror film samples layered throughout create a truly macabre atmosphere, sure to resonate with fans of Electric Wizard (who may be skeptical of such a commercially accepted album) and their love of sampling for a satanic ritual ambiance.
The genre-bending and tempo spectrum of Astro-Creep: 2000 makes this record accessible for a range of music appetites. It gallops between chugging, catchy guitar riffs throughout the album to the industrial bagpipes on the track ‘Creature Of The Wheel’, followed by the danceable ‘Electric Head Part 2’ that could be culled from any KMFDM track. With a creepy carnivalesque intro, trancelike vocals and a perfectly timed pinch harmonic ahead of a psychedelic guitar solo in ‘Grease Paint and Monkey Brains’ – no song is the same.
As one of the progenitors of the crossover metal sound, their hybrid mix of groove metal and distorted guitars would be the catalyst for Rob Zombie’s solo debut Hellbilly Deluxe just a few years later.