It is surprising how many of Rob Zombie's and White Zombie's fans do not know this album exists. If they did manage to pick it up however, most would find it too hot to handle. This is far removed from the radio-friendly(-ish) comic book/splatter movie rock Zombie has made his name with. The common first reaction when hearing `Make Them Die Slowly' is "what was that?". So what do we get?
Probably the best way to describe the album is half-paced Thrash. OK, so Thrash is identified with it's speed and aggression. This has aggression by the bucketload. It just lacks the speed. Play it at 78rpm and you'd get something like a dark and gloomy, almost Gothic, Nuclear Assault. The riffing is fairly standard Thrash fare, nothing flashy, but catchy enough. Strangely, the riffs should be memorable, but they slip through your mind very quickly. The solos and drumming are both solid, but unimpressive because of the inability of the band to change out of second gear.
The guitar tone is, well, odd. Imagine Bob Dylan's singing voice as an electric guitar- twangy and nasal, with a hint of a whine. An unusual effect, but as memorable as the riffs are forgettable.
Anyway, enough of the instrumental sideshows, what about the main event? What about Rob Zombie's voice? Luciano Pavarotti he isn't, but like any good singer with limited ability, Zombie knows his limits. He has written the songs to fit his voice, rather than embarrassing himself trying to stretch himself too far. The subject matter of the songs is just what you'd expect from Rob Zombie- B-movie schlock horror. Zombie drawls, moans and snarls his way through such lyrical niceties as "This is murderworld sister/A deep throating little baby-face" and "Justice claws/A death horizon/ Freak-zone flesh/Maggot man rising".
Conspicuous by their absence are the movie samples overused in later White Zombie releases, and a good thing too. The samples were often more interesting than the songs. On this album, the minimalist, stripped back metal is allowed to shine through, uncluttered by obscure cinematic outtakes.
This is definitely not to everyone's taste. The guitar sound and Zombie's voice can be hard to stomach. Get past those obstacles though, and it's a fun time romp through Rocky Horror land. Spookier than The Misfits and more horrific than The Cramps, this would appeal to fans of both those bands.