Sound — 6
Rob Zombie has finally released his new album, Hellbilly Deluxe 2. This album has much to offer in it's own right, as the sound is different than Educated Horses. However, it still falls short of Zombie's past glory. The opening track, 'Jesus Frankenstein', sounds very promising with it's dark, haunting intro. This song sets the pace for the entire album: good, dark, haunting riffs mixed in with a subpar attempt to recreate his classic sound. John 5 wrote some really good riffs, and they shine in this album. His tone mixes very well with Zombie's voice. His creativity on this album is exactly what 'Educated Horses' was missing. However, his attempt falls short of making this a Zombie classic. Songs like 'Jesus Frankenstein', 'Mars Needs Women', and 'Virgin Witch' have very haunting tones in them, with heavy riffs that harkens back to John 5's solo work, and the melodies have that old Zombie sound. However, the combination of the two still leaves something to be desired. One nice addition to this album is the element John 5 brings in his solos. Short and sweet, each solo complements it's song. 'Virgin Witch' especially has a perfect union with it's solo. Furthermore, this album has infused a seemingly punk rock element to it. 'What?' and 'Dream Factory' both have John 5 playing a very punk-driven rhythm with Zombie singing in a comparable style. Overall, I think this is a decent album. It's definitely more 'Zombie' than 'Educated Horses' was in sound. However, it still falls short of Rob Zombie's former sound, and is a sub-par attempt at recreating it.
Lyrics — 5
Rob Zombie is still himself. His vocals on this album are still his signature sound. The lyrics all take on Zombie's classic songwriting style: horror elements, the macabre, and a dark carnival feel. As far as transforming those lyrics into melodies, however, Zombie has let fans down. His voice is constantly the same throughout the album. While many would argue his voice never had dynamics, he at least varied chorus structures and such. On this album, almost every song has painstakingly similar arrangements from a lyrical standpoint. Songs like 'Sick Bubblegum', 'Mars Needs Women', and 'Werewolf Baby' all have very similar structures for the chorus: Sing the title over and over. In the past, Zombie infused many phrases in his choruses throughout the album, and only a handful of songs on Hellbilly Deluxe 2 have this trait. For the most part, Zombie voice is still good. It's just no longer innovative and creative.
Overall Impression — 5
All in all, this album will neither impress nor let down Zombie fans. Do not hope for a return to the sound Zombie developed with his first 'Hellbilly Deluxe', but also expect a slight improvement from the thin sound that 'Educated Horses' gave. Many songs on here are enjoyable, like 'Mars Needs Women', and some are even impressive, such as 'Virgin Witch'. Mainly, the music is more enjoyable than Zombie's singing, which is a major drawback to the album. If I lost this album, chances are I'd spend my money on getting the Deluxe version of the original 'Hellbilly' rather than repurchasing this one.