When Beavis and Butthead's enthusiastic endorsement of the terrific "Thunder Kiss '65" video thrust White Zombie into the American conscience, most consumers assumed that they were witnessing a brand new band -- especially given the title of the album that spawned said single and video: 1992's La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1. But in fact, White Zombie had been toiling away in obscure New York hovels since as early as 1985, enduring continual musician turnover while recording a series of independent releases that in no way hinted at the mainstream success that awaited them, once they were signed to mighty Geffen Records by legendary A&R executive Michael Alago (who, years earlier, had brought Metallica to Elektra). The last of these independent releases, 1989's Make them Die Slowly actually contained most of the key musical ingredients responsible for Sexorcisto's subsequent breakthrough: post-thrash riff-mongering and punk rock ethics, wed to horror movie references (though no samples) and psychedelic stream-of-consciousness lyrics, delivered via Rob Zombie's already unmistakable, tuneless yowls -- yet the qualitative leap between the two releases is nothing short of staggering. If only Make Them Die Slowly's rather atrocious production -- or lack thereof -- was entirely to blame, but the songs themselves are often indefensible, and particularly during the album's painful first half. Opener "Demon Speed" (later revisited for the God of Thunder EP) starts things off with an awkward stumble, and seems like a miserable choice for first song until one hears catastrophic follow-ups like the slam-dance non-starter "Disaster Blaster," the coma-inducing slow grind of "Murderworld," and the circular riff hell of "Revenge." By comparison, the disc's final three cuts represent a significant step forward, toward the band's major-label glory days, as the energetic, properly thrashing tandem of "Acid Flesh" and "Power Hungry" finally pick up the pace, and, along with the surprisingly compelling, Soundgarden-like dirge of "Godslayer," actually tidy up the songwriting loose ends, quite a bit. Don't get too excited, though: Make Them Die Slowly leaves much to be desired by subsequent standards, and it's really no surprise that it was largely forgotten by latter-day Rob Zombie fans, and left to go out of print for some 20 years, before being included in 2008's Let Sleeping Corpses Lie box set.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia