Saturday, May 28, 2011

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie - White Zombie - 2008

Let Sleeping Corpses LieMan, I hate to admit it, but I was disappointed with Let Sleeping Corpses Lie.

Ironically, I wasn't expecting much in terms of content and am still pleased to have a partial "one-stop shop" for White Zombie's records (all studio records are here with soundtrack and tribute album one-offs, but remix EPs, for example, are nowhere to be found). I knew what I was getting, track-wise, and cannot complain. For the newbie, much of this stuff has been hard to come by (fans in the '90s could still get Make Them Die Slowly in record stores but the first albums were generally findable only via bootlegs (albeit decent ones)). The noisy scumrock left many of the neophytes turned on by La Sexorcisto, frankly, turned off and many were perfectly happy to accept the Geffen debut as an alternative starting point. These early tracks sound great here and are cool to have in "official form."  

What I was so sorely disappointed with was the package. The "fondlability and fetishability factor," to misquote Frank Zappa. White Zombie had been almost as much about the image and artwork as the music and the buyer is left swindled. I recall a radio interview in 1995 or so promoting Astro Creep in which Rob spoke about how much the band enjoyed giving the fans a complete package that included stickers, posters, et cetera. Here we get something nice to load into iTunes and then file onto the shelf. I remember the day this set arrived - it was the week of Thanksgiving and I was working from home on a slooow day prior to the holiday. The box in the mail on release day was the best present I could have ever hoped for and I was so looking forward to tearing this sucker open and spending an afternoon reading through its book. Instead I found a 32-page, sepia CD-sized insert with some artwork, all in the same tone, none in color, no lyrics, no notes from the band members or critics, no complete historical articles, no original cover art, nothing. It contains album info/dates for the tracks but there is absolutely zero in terms of Box Set 101 basics: no notes from critics/historians/bandmembers nor any full-color photographs or artwork nor even duplications of the original album cover art (nice for those who never saw the early releases on shelves in their original forms). Again, fine for most bands, I guess, but when Zombie has given us so much to enjoy visually in the past this comes as a shock. I have since read interviews expressing Rob's disdain for the White Zombie history (a great one is located at but if you're going to package, market and sell this item to fans, you should consider what a fan would enjoy. If he hated the band that much, he should have abandoned the project. And, yes, I like the music. I like it a lot. It can stand on its own for what it is. But Rob's visual style is as much a part of the package - just look at how many of us have followed his forays into filmmaking. Again, fun to listen to, but the physical package offers zero incentive to buy it in "hard copy" versus a cheaper digital download. And certainly no good reason to sell off your original albums - you'll likely regret it.

With most bands, substance trumps style every time. With a band like White Zombie, they're intertwined. And while nice to have all the tunes (and a killer DVD) in one place, this cannot help but feel like a product rushed to market for a Christmas season that forgot a lot about its fanbase in the process. All in all, a surprisingly minimalist package from legendary purveyors of excess.

geffen promo photo - 1992
Let Sleeping Corpses Lie contains remastered versions of White Zombie's Gods on Voodoo Moon EP (1985), the "Pig Heaven" 7" single (1986), Psycho-Head Blowout (1987), Soul-Crusher (1987), Make Them Die Slowly (1989), the "God of Thunder" 12" single (1989), La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 (1992), "I Am Hell" from The Beavis and Butt-Head Experience (1993), "Children of the Grave" from Nativity in Black: A Tribute to Black Sabbath (1994), "Feed the Gods" from Airheads (1994), Astro-Creep: 2000 (1995), "The One" from Escape from L.A. (1996), "I'm Your Boogieman" from The Crow: City of Angels (1996) and "Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks and Cannibal Girls" from Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996). The DVD disc includes nine music videos, ten live tracks and, as an Easter Egg, the original Bela Lugosi White Zombie film (just select Title 5 on your DVD remote to access).

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