I have to say it, I'm a big fan of the original release of Hellbilly Deluxe 2, but knew I had to get my hands on this 2 disc version. I'm not going to go too much into depth about the album itself, apart from saying it is an upbeat, eclectic, gratifyingly insane album so full of energy and aggression that it is a must have in any groove rock/hard metal collection. Here, I will focus on what's new in this release.
The big thing about the album is the inclusion of 3 new tracks featuring Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, as well as an alternate version of the closing track The Man Who Laughs and the division of Mars Needs Women into 2 separate tracks. I'm a big fan of the new piece Michael, which fits into the album perfectly and has that brilliant creepy, long drawl Zombie has done to great effect on Educated Horses, but I'm not so into the 2 other new tracks (Devil's Hole Girls and the Big Revolution and Everything Is Boring). They are pretty standard for Zombie and seem like a step backwards in terms of style. They feel like outtakes that never belonged with the other tracks on the album. As for the changes made to The Man Who Laughs, I personally welcome them and embrace this new version as the definitive song. The splitting of Mars Need Women is in one way pointless, in another quite welcome. Makes it easier to put it on to just hear the driving parts of the song!
Now for the DVD, which is the real bonus on this release. A half hour tour documentary by Rob Zombie is the main attraction, essentially chronicling some off stage and performance footage of the band. To be honest, it's not big shakes and was filmed on handicams, but I've seen worse. Seeing some of the joking around and fan interaction is quite nice, though the poor sound quality makes a lot of the performance footage difficult to sit through. Any die hard fans should dig it, but casual fans may notice how much better Zombie sounds in the recordings than he does in the live performance. Also included on the DVD are two music videos, one a montage of performance footage for Mars Needs Women, the other the live performance of School's Out with Alice Cooper. Nice to see, not the biggest of shakes.
A quick word must be given to the lyric booklet. The art is (as always the case with Zombie) a homage to old horror movies and is a bit fun. There is plenty of his wife Sherri Moon Zombie, and just general love and attention in there. It's enough to make me mention it, so don't forget to give it a flip (in a good way!).
Overall, some of the tracks seem like the disk is just double-dipping, but this is definitely the definitive version of the album, as it always should have been. If you're going to hear this album, do yourself a favour and get this release of it.