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Rob Zombie - Educated Horses Review

by Travis Becker

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A kinder gentler Rob Zombie? Say it ain't so. While he's not excavating Barry Manilow territory just yet, it seems that incomparable shock rock (and now splatter cinema) ringmaster has grown up just a shade. Gone are the dreadlocks, scary makeup, and cartoonishly violent, Satan-themed artwork replaced by a cleaner cut, almost sedate-looking Zombie. Clearly, however, box office success agrees with Mr. Zombie as Educated Horses represents his best work, musically speaking, in years. In fact, the 2006 release marks Zombie's first collection of new original, non-film music in five years. Not a radical departure from his earlier efforts, Zombie's new record still rocks, but in a more grown up way.

The basic formula remains the same. Tons of big riffs, lots of "Yeah"s and "Alright"s, and several spooky theatrical interludes. The intro/first song, "Sawdust in the Blood" finds a piano lurking in the shadows punctuated with blasts from the drums. "American Witch" features Zombie's more recent vocal bleat in place of the thick growl he favored previously, but the song is Rob Zombie all the way through. On "Let it All Bleed Out" Zombie and his band channel Pepper Keenan briefly with a wicked guitar intro and a vocal chord shredding chorus. The barely audible spoken parts at the beginning and in the middle create excellent contrast within the song. By the end, however, it's a much more musical record featuring string arrangements, acoustic guitars, and some borderline theatrical arrangements, as on "Death of it All." Also, the pseudo-industrial crunch is gone for the most part, leaving a more stripped down heavy rock that will be tougher for Zombie to remix for a dance album, but is ultimately a more satisfying listen.

Of course, sex and violence drip and spatter all over the record. Zombie seems fond of the convention that the two are inextricably linked. Samples still moan here and there throughout the record but much of the "La Sexorcisto" silliness goes out the window. One can hardly blame Zombie for his preoccupation with the flesh, as he is married to Sheri Zombie, to whom he gives special thanks in the liner notes. Just another reminder of what a great freaking job being a rock star is. On the violence front, the inclusion of "Devil's Rejects" showcases the most obvious horror-show elements on the record. It brings to mind last year's excellent murder romp of the same name and probably brings together the old and new in terms of Zombie's music better than any other song.

Rob Zombie seems to turn to gold anything he touches of late. Educated Horses will likely be no different as his fingerprints are all over it, from writing to performing to creating the album's artwork. Always the artistic completist, Zombie sees the album through, despite being pulled in many directions of late due to the success of his film career. While one side of the work or the other would suffer under the hand of a mere mortal, Zombie integrates one into the other, creating more satisfying results on both sides. How is it fair that one man should enjoy such success in two endeavors you might ask? Well, while Rob Zombie sings that "God Hates the Lords of Salem", but something or someone, somewhere certainly seems to love Rob Zombie.


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Rocknworld.com: Rob Zombie - The Millennium Collection Review

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Rob Zombie - The Millennium Collection Review


by Robert VerBruggen

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Once an artist releases his first greatest hits disc, he pretty much pumps out another one every album or two. Just ask Aerosmith.

So even though Past, Present & Future came out three years ago, Rob Zombie is joining the 20th Century Masters with The Best of Rob Zombie: The Millennium Collection. Universal must really be scraping the bottom of the barrel for the series, because two of the five albums drawn from didn't even come out in the 20th century.

The collection is pared down to 12 tracks, which is about right for five albums' worth of material - Past had 19 tracks after four releases, which entailed some remixing and new material. Both include White Zombie and solo Rob Zombie recordings.

However, the old collection is discounted to $10.49 on CD Universe with a bonus DVD, and Best of (no DVD, $9.09) doesn't even include the first single off this year's Educated Horses, "American Witch." In fact, the only three tracks present here but not on Past are "House of 1000 Corpses," "The Devil's Rejects" and "The Lords of Salem." All three are fine but far from indispensable.

One really has to wonder, then, what the draw is. The cover - topped with the Masters logo normally seen on CDs from The Oak Ridge Boys and, at the most cutting-edge, the Scorpions - is about as lame as metal artwork gets, even for a singer who without fail plasters his face on the front of every release. The music is great, but the same could be said of Past, or for that matter any Zombie release.

If you go to the store looking to get "Thunder Kiss '65" (which holds up surprisingly well), "More Human than Human," "Living Dead Girl" and "Never Gonna Stop (The Red Red Kroovy)" on one CD, and the chain is all out of Past, Present & Future, The Best of Rob Zombie will do the trick. It will also work for saving $1.40 if you don't want the PastDVD.

Otherwise, don't worry, because your Zombie collection is already complete.


Robert VerBruggen (http://robertsrationale.blogspot.com) is an apprentice editor at The National Interest in Washington, DC and an antiMusic contributor.


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Rob Zombie - The Millennium Collection

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