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Rambling and Stumbling All Over Itself - 38%

psychoticnicholai, June 27th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1987, 12" vinyl, Silent Explosions Records

If you came here expecting the catchy sounds and pounding grooves of later White Zombie, you've come to the wrong place. This album is still heavy as fuck without being metal, and it's definitely as crazy as White Zombie ever got, there's just one problem, NOTHING IS COHERENT AT ALL! This is a noise rock album that sounds more like the Butthole Surfers, Sonic Youth, and early Ween if one band had met somewhere and done as much drugs as all three of them at once and stepped into a recording studio to lay out all of their depraved ideas onto a record. The main problem being that those bands had more coherence and more enthusiasm than White Zombie had here. Soul Crusher is some of the sloppiest rock you could try to make.

Everything is out of whack on Soul Crusher. The songs run together and have little semblance of structure. It's about as amateurish and as noisy as you can get. There's no stimulating atmosphere to be had, just a thick haze of meandering guitars and scattered drums with occasional riffs interjecting like a kid blurting out the answers during a test. They often sound like barely coherent guitar striking rather than a fully formed attempt at rhythm. Rob himself just sounds inebriated and mostly spouts off nonsense that's just... weird, and not the fun kind of weird either. The structure of the songs is often meandering and does nothing to hold your attention, only to go do something for a little bit and then spazz on over towards something different. Soul Crusher is rock with severe ADHD and not in the good way like the other noise rock bands such as Butthole Surfers or early Ween who can actually make a maniacal, crazy song still sound coherent. This is just frantic, runny slop that's nothing short of confusing and headache-inducing.

If there's anything positive to say about this, it's that this is heavy and punchy, but that's about the only compliment I can pay this. The production is very bassy and makes this incoherent slurry sound dense and thick. Honestly, if Sexorcisto or even Make Them Die Slowly had production like this, I'd probably enjoy them more. Too bad it's wasted on this gobbledygook. When riffs do appear, they hit like slugs from a shotgun, too bad they're often disjointed and nonsensical, hardly tying in to what little song structure there is. It's as heavy as a bag of cement hitting you on the head. It also gives you a similar headache. It also hardly changes, turning this album into a slog and a chore.

Soul Crusher is a difficult album, without much form or intelligence. It's a painful, boring, and confusing affair that hits us with all its got and is pretty intense all throughout. There's just nothing to get excited about. It's musical slop that blends together and stumbles all over itself while having no real purpose or direction feeling the same and dragging on the whole way through.

It'll Only Crush Your Expectations... - 43%

DawnoftheShred, January 4th, 2008

When White Zombie was signed to Geffen Records, they recorded and released their third album, La Sexorcisto and declared it as their debut. In the same way that Pantera erased most public knowledge of their pre-Cowboys from Hell glam/speed metal past once they were signed, White Zombie’s first two albums were left to rot out of print in the darkest corners of whichever used music shop was unlucky enough to receive them. Why would a band withhold music from their fans you ask? Just like Pantera, it would seem White Zombie had a past that they were quite ashamed of…

In the somewhat unlikely event that potential listeners have heard White Zombie’s earliest pre-album output, the sound of their lost debut will not come as a surprise. But coming off a steady diet of their well-known Geffen material, fans will be in for quite a shock. Raw, abrasive, punky, noisy: this is a far different band than the one that would put out some above average groove metal in the 90’s. The best description for the ten tracks of alternative terror that is Soul Crusher is “anti-catchy.” A handful of dissonant “riffs” blast forth, seemingly devoid of organization or progression, with scattered sounding drums, leads, and sampled sounds to create a towering wall of noise over which vocalist Rob “Zombie” Cummings hurls his infernal screeching. And even when his lyrical spouts are discernable, they’re always incomprehensible psychedelia. It’s like one grating, trippy ride on an inverted rollercoaster through a swampy marsh. If there’s an audience for this sort of thing, I’d like to meet them.

All of the songs channel the same rebellious monotony, smashing through your sound system with a dissonant fist and riding on their own momentum (which is in itself a paradox, as the “music” is paper-thin) until their respective conclusions, most of which are abrupt. I found myself kind of digging the weightier numbers, such as “Drowning the Colossus” and “Truck on Fire,” but they aren’t really any different than the others.

Supposedly this is quite a sought after album among fans due to its rarity. I say let them have it, as the trouble spent tracking it down far outweighs its value. Only recommended if you’re really curious about the 80’s White Zombie sound or if you like atonal, off-key, noisy psychedelic pap.


Originally written for http://www.metal-observer.com