"Mars Needs Women" starts out with promise, a menacing acoustic intro reminiscent of Down's "Landing at the Mountains of Megiddo", then descends into a disappointing grind that sounds like something Marilyn Manson would have cut from his Golden Age of Grotesque album. That intro represents something common to Zombie's recent film and music work, a flash of brilliant potential that reminds you he's an artist of promise that can't seem to get past his preoccupations. The horror-movie, honky-tonk stomp of "Werewolf Baby" is tight and catchy and proves that Zombie collaborated with long-time bandmates this time out rather than session musicians; if these guys wanted to, they could easily pull off history's most frightening country album. "Virgin Witch" is a slow, chugging mess that can't even be saved by John 5's guitar pyrotechnics. "Death and Destiny Inside the Dream Factory," inspired by Zombie's forays into Hollywood, is about as appealing as a dentist brandishing his drill right next to your ear. The energy is there, a change from the album's first couple songs, but it's driving a tune so abysmal you wish Zombie had phoned this one in too.
"Burn" is another good track, more down to the combined ability of John 5, Tom Clufetos & Piggy D. rather than Zombie himself - it's actually better when there's no vocal and the music is left to its own devices. The song marks a turning point for Zombie, he's gone from raiding old horror movies to old commercials, with his "Poppa ooo-mow-mow" hook straight out of a Pringles advertisement. I look forward to seeing this progress on his next album, where he'll write a song about a lesbian, vampire, motorcycle gang incorporating the phrase "plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is".
The gothic swagger of "Cease to Exist" is another standout track with a spooky "transmissions from the end of the world" sound. Like some of Zombie's recent darker experimentation, "House of 1000 Corpses" and "Death of it All," it benefits from a slow-tempo and dark, minimalist sound. This is a Rob Zombie production of course, so we do get audio clips and voice effects but they enhance rather than distract. After "What?" it's the album's second best track and it's followed by what is arguably the worst. "Werewolf Women of the S.S.," inspired by the faux trailer he directed for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's film Grindhouse, with its funhouse dance beat, is about as throwaway a track as Zombie has ever produced. It's the kind of track that might benefit from a remix, if anyone cared enough to bother, but for the time being it's another example of Zombie's schtick wearing thin. The final track, "The Man Who Laughed" is 9-minute free-for-all, not really a song as such, just a collection of riffs, strings and the most egregious of all rock 'n' roll excesses: the drum solo.