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Geezer Tries to get a Gig at Ozzfest - 35%

Superchard, September 1st, 2018

Geezer Butler's desire to take on a more abrasive and modern sound has come around full circle by the time 1997's Black Science was released. Be careful what you wish for, because although that style can work really well when it's pulled off well, often times trying to sound like whatever's catching on will eventually start to make you sound like everything else out there. Plastic Planet had a fair amount of originality to it, but all that has been traded for a weaker vocalist, a more nu-metal sound and godawful songwriting on Black Science. The debut only had one lone song on it that could be labeled a nu-metal song, that being "The Invisible". A song I felt was among the weakest of Plastic Planet's entourage along with "Detective 27". That album had some really good modern doom and pseudo-thrash metal holding its own though, this album on the other hand has about one song that I really like, maybe a mediocre song here and there and the rest is just absolute shit.

Without looking at the track listing, I can name very few songs off this album by memory. That's sad because I've come back to this album time and time again thinking that maybe I'll like it more the next time I listen to it. As of today I can only name "Man in a Suitcase", "Box of Six", "Among the Cybermen" and "Number 5". Now let me reveal to you the reasons I remember some of these songs. Well, I remember "Man in a Suitcase" because it's the first disgrace the album has to offer. I remember "Box of Six" because it's the worst song on the album. Gee(zer), we're not off to a very good start here, are we? Well I can at least remember "Among the Cybermen" for its catchy hard rock sound. It's not particularly great, but marginally better than most everything else the album has to offer, and a slight nod to something more along the lines Ozzy Osbourne might've done in his own solo band. Meanwhile, "Number 5" is the absolute best song on the album, a very well-written cyberpunk industrial metal tune that evolves midway through into a modern thrash metal song complete with Clark Brown's wonderful clean vocals, Deen Castronovo's talented drumming and some epic keyboards thrown in there for good measure.

When Geezer actually decide to write something original, they can really impress. Unfortunately this is the only time Black Science ever really impressed me, and the album that followed this was completely worthless. As for this, it's somewhere in between the greatness of the debut and the absolute worthlessness of their third and final album, Ohmwork. There's absolutely no use for songs like "Has to Be" or the completely retarded "Unspeakable Elvis". Even "Among the Cybermen" plods along in an over-repetitive fashion, devoid of much life and has zilch going for it beyond its immediate accessibility for those who prefer to listen to sing-a-long metal. It's so repetitive that by the end of listening to it for the first time, even a dumbass like YOU can sing along with it! Doesn't that sound like fun?!?!?!?

Burton C. Bell's absence is not as big of a deal as I may have made it seem in the opening paragraph. I do think he's a superior vocalist to Clark Brown, but Clark can still hold his own and I actually do like his voice. He can sing well but I don't care for his Jonathan Davis meets Warrel Dane shouts. I was never much of a fan of either of those singers, so Clark Brown comes off extremely annoying when he's not using his clean voice. I know that a lot of fans actually consider him to be superior to Burton C. Bell, so to each their own on this one. Pedro Howse's guitar playing has stagnated over the two years between this release and the debut. Dare I say it, he might actually be even worse here, but then again let's be real, he's probably just following Geezer's lead, so in reality Geezer has become derivative of his own material combined with trying too hard to be Korn. Deen Castronovo is still this band's saving grace. Thank goodness for him, but the techno tendencies of this album have him replaced with fucking R2D2 half the time.

"Northern Widom" being the greatest offender of putting Deen out of a job. No wonder this was his last album with the band, to be replaced by Chad Smith on Ohmwork. "Northern Wisdom" is that lame ass techno pop song that was made for weeaboos to make their Anime music videos to of Gundam battles on YouTube, in other words this is Linkin Park levels of suck. "Trinity Road" is a mix of thrash and nu-metal, about as lame as it sounds, comparable to their fellow 'innovators' Machine Head circa The More Things Change..., which came out the same year as this album by the way. (Damn, 1997 was a terrible fucking year for mainstream heavy metal.) If you are listening to the Japanese release, you were greeted with one last song which doesn't do much for me anyway called "Beach Skeleton". Did I mention this band has a tendency to have really bad song titles? It's no worse than "Unspeakable Elvis" at the very least.

Don't bother with anything beyond Plastic Planet. I've wanted to like this album ever since Plastic Planet led me to believe this band could somehow come up with a good follow-up. Black Science fails in every conceivable way. While I really liked GZR's debut, I have to concede that going in this direction is a dangerous line to walk when it comes to integrity. Now, mind you I'm not just some nu-metal hater. Honestly, I'd like to believe that maybe, just maybe there's some really good nu-metal out there. The thing is, the very nature of nu-metal is to sell out. Most of us had enough of this shit from 1996 onward when Ozzfest was trying to shove this down our throat and the most white trash bands one could possibly imagine started making names for themselves among the likes of Kidd Rock, Mudvayne and even Insane Clown Posse kind of fits in there somewhere. Thankfully this idiotic fad seems to have died off since the early 2000's, but I fear it's on its way to making a comeback. Fingers crossed that posers stay far the fuck away from picking up instruments.

Science for Both Humans and Dehumans - 86%

bayern, August 31st, 2017

The fabulous uncle Geezer and his tireless meanderings around the volatile, flippant metal scene… he left Black Sabbath in 1984 to embark on a solo career under the Geezer Butler band moniker although this particular stunt didn’t amount to more than two demos. Then he decided to rock the hell out together with his former colleague from the Sabbaths, Ozzy Osbourne that is in case of you’re wondering, but this didn’t quite satisfy him again, and a reunion with his other comrades in the early-90’s was inevitable, Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.) included, which led to the excellent “Dehumanizer”, and the acceptable “Cross Purposes”. It’s the former we will concentrate on more here as it must have impressed the man with its ultra-heavy, intimidating stance so much that he voted to base the style of his new project, the name shortened to just Geezer to ease the memorization process, on its seismic, ship-sinking riffs entirely.

Easier done than said, and the ship was ready to sail in 1995 with some prominent guest participation in the face of none other than Mr. Burton Bell from Fear Factory, and the drum legend Dean Castronovo (also Hawaii, Wild Dogs, Cacophony, Malice, Ozzy Osbourne again, etc.). Geezer had brought his partner from the first solo project, the guitarist Pedro Howse, along for the ride, and also to complete the line-up who did a nice job on the debut “Plastic Planet” which was a good translation of the “Dehumanizer” sound to the new 90’s generation with appropriate groovy, industrial and abrasive additives. Not much to complain about really except that Bell had to go after this first instalment due to his busy schedule with the Ministry… sorry, Factory of Fear, leaving the place behind the mike available for the complete unknown Clark Brown.

The album reviewed here wasn’t a very distant departure from the approach on the debut, only that the doomy configurations have stepped aside for the sake of more flexible modern power/thrash arrangements which make tracks like “Man in a Suitcase” attractive intense exercises in jumpy groovy dramatism. Brown is excellent with his clean mid-ranged timbre, his emotional tirades matching the drama in the musical department every bit of the way. Squashing steam-rollers like “Box of Six” are a wonder to listen to with their remorseless hypnotic march-like rhythms; so are the atmospheric semi-balladic doomy hymns like “Mysterious” which also throw a lasting look further back at the early Sabbath heritage. More ordinary, pedestrian groovers (“Justified”) are saved by Brown’s convincing tirades which also provide several truly memorable choruses. The highlight arrives in the middle, the laconically titled “N5”, a great epic progressiver with an outstanding performance by Brown and everyone else for the creation of arguably the band’s finest hour which also pleasantly surprises with a speedy dash ala Grip Inc. in the second half. A true revelation which overshadows the remainder among which one will definitely savour the semi-comic thrasher “Unspeakable Elvis”, a curious, albeit stylish tribute to the King of Rock’n Roll with a few balladic touches embedded; the impossibly catchy radio hit “Xodiak”; and the excellent industrialized thrashing roller-coaster “Trinity Road”.

Geezer had nothing to be ashamed of; on the contrary, his new outfit was making the rounds in a fairly fashionable for the time mode, with the proper amount of modernisms present without completely delineating the old school fanbase. The latter may not be perennially amused as the man was determined to stay afloat throughout the 90’s, and singing classic heavy metal anthems simply wasn’t going to get the job done. This “Black Science” here did, though, and suddenly Geezer saw himself “armed” with capable partners ready to leave a more lasting trace on the 90’s metal horizon…

well, not quite; who would have thought that the old school was going to re-invent itself mere few years down the line, and would push the groove/aggro/post-thrashy carnival into the sidelines… yeah, mysterious are God’s ways, and Geezer obviously didn’t have the sagacity, or rather the clairvoyance to see this most logical cycle repetition. Cause he decided to give his industrial post-thrashy visions one more chance, and “Ohmwork” appeared in the midst of the classic metal resurrection craze to defy all laws of music. Defiance is good, mind you, but in the way it was done by our friends here it wasn’t going to make even a single head turn even if Dio himself was behind the mike. A bland numetal charade, completely lacking the vigour and the bite of its predecessor, it simply wrote the band’s death sentence and prompted Geezer to look for another collaboration with his old comrades which brought the Heaven & Hell brotherhood to life. Things have not quite been finalized in the Geezer camp… ashes are smouldering there, drum beats are heard coming from its remote corners; something is stirring, and mankind is very likely to listen soon to another scientific lesson with all the relevant industrial and doomy tools of the trade.

Clarke Brown saves the day! - 60%

overkill67, April 19th, 2004

I don't quite know what to say about this album aside from the fact that i've owned it since it was released in 97...and I am still unsure as to whether or not I really dig it. Overall its not a great album from beginning to end. However, it does have its moments that truly shine. For the most part...this album can really be appreciated simply for Clarke Brown's unique and origional style of vocals...he can really sing...but he can also sound as heavy as fuck when he wants to as well. Of course Deen Castronovo's drumming is amazing...but one would expect no less from Deen. The lyrics...well I guess its fair to say that ozzy didn't do all that acid by himself...apparently Mr. Butler was along for most of the "trips". The biggest disappointment on this album is the guitar playing. I'm sure that Pedro must be good buddies with Geezer, otherwise, why the fuck would he have picked this guy to play guitar on this album...even his tone sucks. On that note...guitar players looking for an influence here...Maybe on how not to sound! I'd categorize this as modernized stoner rock with a thrashy/industrial tinge...picture Monster Magnet on steroids with that freak from front line assembly throwing in his two cents!