CD Review of Educated Horses by Rob Zombie

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Educated Horses
starstarstarstarno star Label: Geffen Records
Released: 2006
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Educated Horses sounds different than Zombie’s other work. The entire record clocks in at a lean 38:29, features the blazing guitar of ex-Marilyn Manson slinger John Five, and eliminates a lot of the programming and effects that fill up most of Zombie’s other work.. Frequent collaborator Scott Humphrey, who co-produces the record with Zombie, leaves the vocals in front for most of the record, instead of burying it in the mix of chaos like previous efforts. Zombie sounds a bit like one of his greatest influences in Alice Cooper when Zombie actually takes the time to sing (as opposed to scream). Cooper is a far better vocalist and has a larger range, but their voices are similar. In fact, some of these tracks sound as if they might have been lifted from Cooper’s Brutal Planet or Dragontown, his two-album foray into industrial metal back in 2000 and 2001.

“Sawdust in the Blood” is a haunting 1:22 featuring a loud drum beat fading into some quite acoustic guitar and piano. “American Witch” and “Foxy Foxy” are rocking and completely danceable as “Dragula” from 98’s Hellbilly Deluxe, while “The Scorpion Sleeps” is Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll Part II” on a weightlifting program (faster and meaner but just as fun). “Death of It All” is the mellowest track on the record and features some pretty (pretty and Rob Zombie, who would have thought?) acoustic guitar and the most restrained vocal performance of his career.

Lyrically, Zombie never veers far from his theatrical, B-movie and macabre themes. Titles like “American Witch,” “Let It All Bleed Out” and “17 Year Locust” let you know he is still painting on the same canvas. The star of the record is the guitar playing, thunderous, muscular and restrained when need be. I hope John Five is on board for the long haul, because his work here is stellar.

~R. David Smola