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GZR: Ohmwork

I just don't understand modern heavy metal. Terms like nu-metal, hardcore, grindcore and rap metal kind of blend together in a haze of meaningless hybrids that serve to turn my brain into scrambled eggs. I do not know what subgenre of heavy metal Ohmwork occupies, but I like it much more with each spin. Led by Terry "Geezer" Butler, the legendary bassist for Black Sabbath, GZR features a very contemporary metal sound. This is the kind of "Battle for Ozzfest" music that frequently features on MTV nowadays which probably speaks to today's high school kids much more than it does to me.

Considering the source, very little of this reminds me of Black Sabbath and it would be highly unfair of me to compare GZR to the music of the founding fathers of heavy metal. However, guitarist Pedro Howse has a nice chunky tone that perhaps isn't worlds removed from Tony Iommi but one that is given a quite modern spin.

Opener "Misfit" wouldn't be out of place on Sabbath's Forbidden and is about as close to old school metal as Ohmwork gets. "Prisoner 103" on the other hand is an all out rap metal fest that features vocalist Clark Brown spouting lyrics like "take it out on me and I will break your head in two" while the chorus of "Aural Sects" is "You gotta drown yourself in shit/And find a fuckin' face that fits/Masturbate some self control/And tell the world to save your soul". While I can't identify with the violence of the lyrics, the average youngster today will probably raise the fists with a mighty cry of "Fuck Ya!!". The seven minute "I Believe" actually has a thoughtful arrangement and nice dynamics, providing a good breather in between two much heavier numbers. "Dogs of Whore" (love those puns) and "Pseudocide" are likewise both murderously heavy. Did I mention these songs are heavy?

Credit must be given to Geezer Butler for co writing an album that an audience a third his age would enjoy. It took some time for Ohmwork to grow on me because it's so atypical of the heavy metal music I enjoy. That Butler and company succeed in turning me into a fan means I have come one step closer to understanding some of those meaningless metal hybrids. Fuck Ya!

Track Listing

  1. Misfit
  2. Pardon My Depression
  3. Prisoner 103
  4. I Believe
  5. Aural Sects
  6. Pseudocide
  7. Pull the String
  8. Alone
  9. Dogs of Whore
  10. Don't You Know

Added: September 29th 2005
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official Geezer Butler Web Site
Hits: 3459
Language: english

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GZR: Ohmwork
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-09-29 08:41:37
My Score:

When the name Geezer Butler is dropped the result is similar to his Black Sabbath band mate Tony Iommi. The man is probably one of the main influences in the world of Hard Rock bass playing and not only has he returned in Black Sabbath but he has also delivered his 3rd outing with the group he refers to as "GZR". The main difference is that the players this time around are all different from previous incarnations of the band and the music flows more along with the times. It is wise to caution the diehard Black Sabbath fan to seek samples of this album before purchase because quite honestly there is very little in common with it. I think this is the problem that I had at first listen because I expected a total homage from this man and instead got something more along the lines of Linkin Park and similar nu-metal players. The CD kicks off with "Misfit" which I loved the overall off in and basis of the song. I was not crazy when the slight rap began but this would be far less than tracks like "Prisoner 103" would give me. That could have been a Limp Bizkit tune since there was so much street to it. Meanwhile "I Believe" which is a slower number, was clearly my favorite for it was totally not what I expected to find here after comparing the other tracks. There's a real feel and mood to it. On tracks like "Aural Sects" and "Pseudocide" it's more a Killswitch Engage type of group. This material makes them a good choice for bands like that to tour with.

One needs to lend a little respect to Geezer for not only has he proven his capacity as a Legend in Heavy Metal bass, but he also proves that he can change along with the way the times dictate. Nu-Metal and younger listeners might find a lot more than I did in the release and I feel this is who it was aimed at. For me I would have to say that I was not totally taken with the CD and instead of finding a lot I enjoyed was only impressed by a few tracks. There is not even the expected gloom and doom riffing we have come to love from the Sabbath bass God. Instead of this slower and driving depth there is a lot of quick riffs which are done well but I would have enjoyed if some different content encapsulated them. A great production is done on the CD and there are lyrics to all the tracks in a decent booklet but this CD is not going to be for old school fans all that much. Fans of the earlier GZR releases would also be served by a little caution. While it's not bad, it has changed in the 10 years that it's been since he released a solo piece. The members of GZR for this recording are Peter "Pedro" Howse (guitars), Clark Brown (vocals), Chad Smith (drums) and of course Terence "Geezer" Butler (bass).

Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi has also returned with a solo album starring singer Glenn Hughes. The release is called Fused and it perhaps is more along the lines of what Sabbath is all about yet fans and the Metal community as a whole really clamor for a new Black Sabbath album and potential tour. Will it ever be the case only time and Ozzy can tell.

GZR: Ohmwork
Posted by Jack Toledano, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-06-07 20:35:51
My Score:

Having known the slower, darker metal style of Black Sabbath all these years, I was pleasantly surprised by Geezer Butler's solo effort, Ohmwork. Geezer' solo project, his first solo project since 1997, consists of Geezer on bass of course, Peter "Pedro" Howse on lead and rhythm guitars, Clark Brown on lead vocals, and Chad Smith on the drum kit. The best way to describe Ohmwork is that it is a fusion of different styles of metal. In spots, it contains the signature style of Black Sabbath, albeit a little faster. It is a bit thrashy, but just enough to satisfy. It contains an updated metal sound, particularly in "Prisoner 103", showing that Geezer is not afraid to explore new territory. There is a hint of mid 90's grunge sound. It even has a sampling of acoustic sounds, such as in "I Believe". Highlights of Ohmwork include "Misfit", "I Believe", "Alone", and "Don't You Know".

Geezer also gets his band heavily involved, as all 10 tracks are co-written by Butler, along with Howse and Brown. Clark Brown sounds a bit like the late Lane Staley, with the overall sound being a bit like early Alice In Chains. Brown does a good job switching back and forth between a thrashy style of singing and a more straightforward metal style, although he sounds better when singing clean. Peter Howse does a great job playing a very chunky rhythm style of lead guitar, ala Tony Iommi, although his style is a bit more updated. Geezer also self produced Ohmwork.

Overall, this is a good effort by Geezer Butler, as he painstakingly tries not to sound too much like Black Sabbath, and succeeds. The CD is a bit short, clocking in at 43:42, slightly short by today's standards, but Geezer gets his point across. But Black Sabbath fans, classic metal fans, and thrash fans alike should all enjoy Ohmwork.

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