Rob Zombie, "Hellbilly Deluxe 2"
Sequels are tricky in any art form, but Rob Zombie-who has revived the "Halloween" horror film franchise and has "The Blob" on his radar-certainly seems like the right guy for the job. While "Hellbilly Deluxe 2" certainly captures the Saturday afternoon matinee spirit of his 1998 solo debut, it's also a different kind of creature. With a facile band and a particularly fertile collaborator in guitarist John 5, "Hellbilly Deluxe 2" is a more diverse and wide-ranging affair, from the industrial grind of "Sick Bubblegum" and "Mars Needs Women" to the garage-y fury of "Death and Destiny Inside the Dream Factory" and the bluesy, slide-fueled classic rock stomp of such tracks as "Virgin Witch" and "Burn." Acoustic guitars (talk about horror) even pop up a couple of times. Movie dialogue loops and titles like "Jesus Frankenstein," "Werewolf, Baby!" and "Werewolf Women of the SS" keep Zombie on well-established B-movie terrain. And if some of the song arrangements overreach, the nearly 10-minute "The Man Who Laughs," complete with orchestrations and Tommy Clufetos' four-minute drum solo (take that, Iron Butterfly!), ends the album on an appropriately epic note. -Gary Graff