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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.