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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.