(4 out of 5)
There is an affliction that cripples far too many boxed sets. It’s called the “Fourth Disc Syndrome.” You know the fourth disc, right? While the first disc of a set covers the interesting formative years, and the middle two cover the creative/commercial peak of an artist, it’s the dreaded fourth and final disc of many boxed sets that, due to the artist’s delusional ego, is jammed up with lackluster material from the ass-end of their career. Material that, in the artist’s eye, is their greatest achievement; but to the rest of us mortals, is the stuff where we stopped paying attention. And while the fourth disc of music on LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE does, in fact, focus on the last of White Zombie’s studio output, it’s worth noting that the band went out on something of a high note; their final album, 1995’s ASTRO CREEP:2000 was the best-selling disc of their career, spawning one of their biggest hits, “More Human Than Human.” However, it’s not just the hits and a few b-sides and demos that get an airing on this set. No, in true, Rob “I’m A Music Fan, Too” Zombie style, LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE features nearly every single track the band recorded. (Literally. There are but two, cassette-only bonus tracks from an early EP that are missing. Why? Who knows?) From their self-released noise-rock outings and their rumbling transformation into horror-tinged volume dealers, straight through to their surprising success as groove-oriented metalheads, the four discs of music on this set provide a truly comprehensive look at White Zombie. Taking up half the set is the material that’s likely to be most surprising to fairweather fans of “More Human Than Human” and “Thunder Kiss ’65” — the first two discs compile the entirety of their first two studio albums (SOUL-CRUSHER and MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY), along with three ridiculously rare, self-released early EPs (GODS ON VOODOO MOON, PIG HEAVEN, and PSYCHO-HEAD BLOWOUT). Also included: the three-track GOD OF THUNDER EP, which is perhaps the best sonic bridge between the group’s early work and their major label sound. Of course, that majorlabel music needs no introduction; but with remastered sound, the impact of less-well-known album cuts like “Grindhouse (A Go-Go)” and “I, Zombie” is exponentially increased, making this an essential purchase. Even the fourth disc.