Rob Zombie - Educated Horses
Geffen Records
Glam Tinged Industrial Rock
11 songs (38:30)
Release year: 2006
Geffen Records
Reviewed by Al
Major event

It’s been five long years since Rob Zombie’s last offering, The Sinister Urge. If you see this as a blessing then it’s time for you to back away from the review now…go on, be off with you! If you have no previous experience or, like me, you’ve missed the delightful slices of mildly deranged industrial goodness that emanate from a Zombie album you’ll be only too pleased to see the end of this drought and be chomping at the bit to see how Educated Horses has turned out.

For those who don’t know, Rob has spent the past years moonlighting as a Hollywood director after he finally decided to add his own work to the genre he seems to be obsessed with (that’s horror movies folks, for those slow on the uptake). While his work in film has little bearing on his musical ability it is relevant as following the commercial success of his last film, The Devil’s Rejects, it was heavily rumoured that he would leave the music world completely to follow cinematic pursuits. Fortunately for fans this was not the case. He enlisted the services of ex Manson guitarist John 5 and the drumming services of Tommy Lee and A Perfect Circle’s Josh Freese and returned to the studio. This left one question, would it be any good?

The most immediately apparent thing about the album is that it is quite a large departure in sound from the previous two. The overall tone has changed from heavy, goth tinged, sample heavy industrial metal to a more raw, organic and glam influenced soundscape. Rob’s typical snarled vocals are still there, not much has changed in that department, but the techno leanings, pounding drums and furious crunching riffing have been replaced by a more groove orientated guitar and drum sound delivered at a generally slower pace. Depending on how cynical you are, you’ll either see this as a brave move and an attempt to keep things fresh or a change that’s better for the bank balance than it is for the music. That said the ideals behind it are not on trial here, the music on the other hand, definitely is.

Following the haunting piano led intro Sawdust in the Blood, Zombie fans will find themselves in familiar territory with American Witch. Starting off with a looped sample it dives into the finest riff on the album, it’s vintage Rob and is easily one of the album’s finest moments. First single Foxy Foxy seems to resurrect the more industrial side of the previous albums before becoming unstuck with a simply dull chorus. It feels like it’s building up to something that never quite happens. From the end of the song onwards the difference between this record and the previous two becomes far more apparent, whether it be the sitar heavy 17 Year Locust or the meeting of country, blues and glam rock at a horror film that is The Devil’s Rejects the myriad of twists and turns will either thrill you or leave you yearning to toss the CD across the room and listen to Dragula instead. There are high points, the aforementioned American Witch, the unashamedly funky The Scorpion Sleeps and the surprisingly atmospheric and chilled out Death of it All. However for each of these gems there’s a song that seems to suffer from an uninteresting chorus or bland musical backdrop. This leaves the album in somewhat of a no man’s land, dispensing equal doses of sweet musical nectar and unpleasant blandness.

My personal feelings towards this release are mixed, I do like it, yet I feel that it doesn’t come close to capturing the energy and mood of Rob’s other albums. For me Rob Zombie’s music has always felt best being pelted at you at full volume in a crowded club or some similar party-like situation yet I don’t feel that this fits that description. I’ve always seen his music as fun rather than challenging and to a certain extent this tries to be the latter and thus fails at the former. As much as I admire him for trying something different I would have been happier with ‘more of the same’ But then maybe I’ve just got an inherent fear of change. I suggest fans to give it a try and see if it clicks and for newcomers I’d highly recommend picking up Hellbilly Deluxe before approaching this. Whether or not we’ll see Rob on the musical landscape again remains a mystery but I for one still certainly hope we do.

MP3: American Witch, Foxy Foxy and Let it All Bleed Out

Killing Songs :
American Witch, The Scorpion Sleeps, Death of it All.
Al quoted 75 / 100
Ken quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Rob Zombie that we have reviewed:
Rob Zombie - Hellbilly Deluxe 2- Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool reviewed by Elias and quoted 78 / 100
Rob Zombie - Past Present & Future reviewed by Danny and quoted no quote
Rob Zombie - The Sinister Urge reviewed by Danny and quoted 92 / 100
8 readers voted
Your quote was: 80.
Change your vote

There are 16 replies to this review. Last one on Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:23 pm
View and Post comments