This album doesn't seem to enjoy the popularity of Hellbilly Deluxe, Rob Zombie's first solo release, but I consider The Sinister Urge the better album of the two. The music seems to be more important this time around, as Zombie experiments with or conjures up new means by which to communicate his unique message. (go to) California, for example, seems to begin with a strange lilting sound to it, and Zombie's voice is somewhat subdued on the verses, providing a nice contrast with the more forceful chorus. Of course, there is plenty of hard rocking on this album, especially on the three most familiar tunes: Never Gonna Stop (the red, red kroovy), Feel So Numb, and Demon Speeding. Demon Speeding reminds me a lot of the Hellbilly Deluxe tracks, but the other new songs have a different sound and style than what Zombie has given us before. These songs are catchier and are more prone to hang around in your head reminding you of their visceral greatness; some might say Zombie got a little soft and added a touch of pop to a few tracks here, but I don't think that is the case at all. If he has added anything, it is a complexity that makes his music all the more impressive.
One song that certainly deserves special mention is Iron Head, which features none other than Ozzy Osbourne helping out on the vocals; the way he and Zombie alternate lines makes Ozzy's input especially effective. Dead Girl Superstar is a great hard-rocking track, and I also really like Bring Her Down (To Crippletown), another song which features a dramatic contrast between the verses and chorus. Scum of the Earth isn't bad, but I would consider it the only light-weight song on the album. There really isn't as much filler material on here as some might think. Sinners Inc. introduces the album with some horror movie-type dialogue, Transylvanian Transmissions Pt. 1 features a dramatic, malevolent reading of horror-laden, strangely philosophical lines, and then the singular House of 1000 Corpses closes out the album with rather a significant bit of what some would call filler material surrounding an otherwise gleefully evil song-more horror movie dialogue about murder, cannibalism, and similar dastardly deeds, voices of innocent little girls, a satisfying number of screams, and-somewhat inexplicably-a couple of minutes' worth of background noise. At almost ten minutes, House of 1000 Corpses is definitely the longest song on the album, but I for one enjoy taking my time to enjoy the pleasure offered by musical rumination upon the darker things in life.
I might note that this album, unlike its predecessor, provides listeners with the song lyrics; it's not always easy to understand Zombie's edgy vocals, and now, while some of the lyrics don't make a great deal of sense, I at least know what I'm hearing. Overall, I recommend this album wholeheartedly to those who like their music dark and forceful. Even though Rob Zombie brought a musical legacy with him from his White Zombie years, Hellbilly Deluxe had a bit of a gimmicky feel to it and proved a little uneven in places. The Sinister Urge, on the other hand, is consistently good from start to finish.