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You Need Some Rock n Roll And You Better Get it Right - 75%

Twisted_Psychology, February 11th, 2019

Back in my days as a grumpy gatekeeping adolescent, the idea of mainstream artists enjoying heavy metal was such a foreign concept. References to the genre were plentiful enough, but they were often either limited to the basics or had an “ironic” tinge that felt insulting. That attitude is obviously still a thing in pop culture but thankfully I’m not as salty about it as I used to be. Either way, it was quite shocking in 2004 when Nirvana/Foo Fighters drummer Dave Grohl released a metal-themed solo album that was staffed with vocalists whose credentials went beyond superficial recognition.

As is the case with these Santana-esque collaborations, the style of a given Probot song is often dependent on the featured vocalist. This is perhaps best demonstrated by the Lee Dorrian vehicle “Ice Cold Man,” which apes the doomy Cathedral aesthetic so well that the band ended up performing it themselves on tour that year. Elsewhere, “Shake Your Blood” could be mistaken for a Mötorhead song with Lemmy’s signature gnarled vocals and driving bass, “The Emerald Law” explores Wino’s tripper side, and the psychedelic “My Tortured Soul” sits well in Trouble singer Eric Wagner’s hands despite having originally been written for Ozzy’s Down to Earth.

Having said that, there are songs where the pieces don’t fit together as well. “Big Sky” is the biggest offender; it’s frankly uncanny to see Tom G Warrior, a guy who’s somehow influenced literally every metal subgenre in existence, perform on something so musically nondescript. The Voivod pastiche on “Dictatosaurus” doesn’t quite translate beyond high-pitched alt guitar, and the almost blues swing of “Sweet Dreams” just doesn’t suit King Diamond no matter how much evil laughter he forces into it. I suppose the stomping “Silent Spring” doesn’t really suit DRI’s Kurt Brecht either, but it’s far too groovy for me to get that offended.

The musicianship also stays solid regardless of presented style. Grohl’s drumming is inevitably more aggressive than his day jobs but keeps its tight character while his guitar work is consistently sludgy yet malleable. However, his riffs often feel dumbed down and structures come off basic, leading one to wonder if he was afraid of upstaging his chosen vocalists. Such a phenomenon seems inevitable on an album like this but more involvement from the guest guitarists (One of which being Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil) might’ve been enough to offset it.

As flawed as these “one singer per song” outings tend to be, Probot’s sole album may be the best example of the template at work. The songwriting method is rather homogenous and not every collaboration works, but the stylistic variety keeps things interesting and you can tell that Grohl and co had fun crafting these tracks. At the very least, this album introduced me to many of the legends that now dominate my playlist. I wouldn’t be surprised if other millennials could say the same.

Highlights:
“Shake Your Blood”
“Silent Spring”
“Ice Cold Man”
“My Tortured Soul”

Addendum: The idea of a sequel album is occasionally brought up in some circles. As much as people love to speculate on who would appear on such a project, I’d personally want Jack Black to sing on the whole thing. Just listen to “I Am the Warlock.” He’s way overdue to sing on an “actual” metal album.

Originally published at http://indymetalvault.com

I think I'll stick to the Antibot camp. - 15%

hells_unicorn, September 14th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Southern Lord Recordings

Call him an elitist, a sectarian, or even the heavy metal equivalent of a xenophobe, but the author of this review tends to react with sheer revulsion whenever the mainstream makes a condescending attempt at either complementing or understanding how metal works. Whether it be the recent phenomenon of pop and hip hop artists donning old metal concert t-shirts as some sort of bizarre fashion statement, or the on and off again invasion of so-called hipsters who claim to love metal yet hate metal heads embodied in the ascendance of bands like The Sword, Mastodon and several others, it just comes off as an insult disguised as a complement. The phenomenon that was 2004's Probot, the sole offering by the project of the same name, was an earlier and even more annoying version of this ongoing trend. To be clear, the author of this review stresses the "phenomenon of Probot" is the object of annoyance, not necessarily the people involved or the initial intent that went into its creation.

The best way to elaborate on the intended recipient of this reviewer's consternation is to focus specifically on the media surrounding the album in question, though the implications of it go a bit further. The cult of media manufactured celebrity was extremely strong with this project's mastermind and ex-Nirvana turned power pop enthusiast David Grohl, thus what was otherwise a sort of capricious side-project that morphed into a collaboration between one of the patriarchs of Grunge and just under a dozen heavy-hitters in the underground metal scene, became an over-hyped monster dubbed by diaper-shit stained rags like Blender Magazine and Rolling Stone as "the year's first great metal album". With an accompanying chorus of approval consisting of PopMatters, Pitchfork, Spin and even Entertainment Weekly praising this thing as innovative and adventurous, the resulting ubiquitous praise was inescapable even for cynical recluses like yours truly.

Naturally praise from mainstream music media outlets alone doesn't determine an album's merit, but it can and in the case of this album does, reveal a dull mediocrity that plays well in said circles. When stripping away all the extraneous buzz, what is left is a dull, mediocre mess of just about every style of metal music that coexisted with alternative rock in the 90s, or otherwise stands closest to said style in terms of sound. None of the styles in question are represented well, as the man behind the songwriting desk is not really much of a guitarist or riff composer, let alone capable of writing something worth hearing beyond the three minute mark. At best, the results come off as amateur and extremely rough, as the production quality shifts with one song to the next in varying degrees of low-fidelity hollowness and things range from being redundant to grating due to an inappropriate clashing of elements between the vocalists and instrumentation.

To this album's credit, it is free of the mainstream approved array of usual suspects like James Hetfield and Ozzy Osbourne, and the drum work is on point. However, what these vocalists have to work with in terms of songwriting is detrimental to the point of cancelling out their effectiveness entirely. The lone exception is "Shake Your Blood", which functions as a consistent recreation of Motorhead's faster songs from the early 80s and sees Lemmy Kilmister adding his bass expertise to the arrangement. Otherwise, the modern metal elements and reductive Black Sabbath worship gets tedious a good 15 to 20 seconds into each song, regardless to whether it's Max Cavalera sounding like shit imitating Jonathan Davis on the mallcore-leaning "Centuries Of Sin" or Snake doing better over a plodding set of uninspired half-thrash and groove riffs. The worst offender is the utterly confused semi-doom metal ode to Nightmare On Elm Street "Sweet Dreams", sporting a clean guitar part that's way too similar to Nirvana's "Heart Shaped Box" and King Diamond trying his best to sound haunting over a mismatched musical backdrop.

This isn't to completely take the piss out of Dave Grohl, who is probably a genuine fan of metal music and was just looking to have some fun doing something different, but more a cautionary tale of how popularity tends to cause many to see greatness when it is nowhere to be found. Most of the actual metal community that ended up praising this album did so because of the vocalists involved (save maybe the hidden joke song that Jack Black sneaked in at the end), not because one trustee of inferior mainstream rock fodder actually put together a collection of decent metal songs and had another principle member of the original grunge scene (Soundgarden's Kim Thayil) contributed a few sloppy token guitar solos. At best, this is a confused collection of demo songs that were never honed into something more compelling, which is basically what rock music itself became between 1992 and 1996 before morphing into a more polished and even more hollow version of itself. Even fans of Soundgarden would be well advised to steer clear of this unfocused, schizophrenic mess.

Ok Dave, it's kiss and make-up time. - 82%

Sigillum_Dei_Ameth, February 24th, 2012

Sorry. I can't fault Dave Grohl. I know a lot of my fellow metal head brethren would be the first that see this as not being tr00 enough (I own albums by Blasphemy, Beherit, and Inquisition....go listen to Manowar faggots!) and that would be their own fault. Yes this isn't the perfect album that makes everyone hold hands and essentially sing a song/tale of forgive and forget. Obviously metal heads have a hard time dropping grudges and getting over the fact that their shit don't stink, I mean if it was a perfect universe we would still be stuck in 1989 listening to Mordred clones and wearing acid-washed jeans....sorry. Like we really needed another decade of pissing and moaning of why "Bounded By Blood" never got the same video airplay as say fucking Poison or Nelson. Do we really want that bad of a stgnation or was Nirvana actually needed in order to air out the castle so to speak? Nirvana didn't survive. Exodus and all of the GOOD thrash acts are still touring in their twilight years of their careers even if their music quality has dropped. But regardless of how one man literally changed everything and provided some much butthurt for metal heads, the shocking fact of the matter was that he was a metal-head himself all along. This album proves it more than anything he has done with his other 2 bands.

First thing's first: the collaborations. I don't know if many people remember how fucking DISMAL the year 2004 was. The tail-end of Nu-metal and the commerical success of Metalcore/scene music. Next to that everyone was still in their Pop-Punk phase with baggy Dickies shorts and were witnessing the rise of...and I will say this....Emo music. It was bleak. It was probably bleaker then than in the mid 90's when Metal was going through a major identity crisis as far as what genre of music would conquer not only the underground, but give hopes to the mainstream. And for Dave Grohl to come out with an album that featured Cronos of Venom, Tom G. Warrior of Celtic Frost, King Diamond, Lemmy of Motorhead, Mike Dean of C.O.C., Wino of Saint Vitus, Lee Dorrian of Cathedral/Napalm Death, etc.....that was possibly the most epic thing any major MTV superstar could do. It's not a million fucking blastbeats, it's not uber-satanic, it's not technical guitar wizardry that resembles nothing short of stroking yourself and thinking your shit don't stink, it's not angsty(thank-god), it's not anything that is so overly-redudant within the metal universe that hasn't been done a million times over. It's basically Dave Grohl's musical vision and collaberation with some of his favorite musicians. And for what it was, at least least 15 minutes of the summer that this album came out in....it was damn good. It was FUN. It was enjoyable. It was groovy, dark, heavy, it essentially felt like listening to a Black Sabbath album and feeling like a kid again and having summer vacation off. And fuck off to those who think that's EVER a bad idea.

Now the main thing with a lot of metal heads including myself was that....what would it sound like? Would the songs sound exactly like those Dave had on the tracks sound like the glory days of their former bands from a decade that everyone is still trying to out-do? Yes and no. Yes in that SOME tracks sound what you would expect and others are a slight let-down like for example the tracks from Tom G. Warrior or Max Cavalera. The tracks with those who have fallen far from their once reigning thrones(NOTE: Since this album, Tom G. Warrior has long since atoned for his sing with Celtic Frost and Tryptykon, where as Max Cavalera still hasn't.), but other than that...the rest of the songs are fucking good. They rock.

First song up is "Centuries of Sin" that features Cronos of Venom which really starts the album off on a killer Venom almost and I stress the word "almost" a very heavy D-Beat/Discharge edge. Not bad. Cronos is singing and Dave is pounding the shit out of his drums in the background. There's also this creepy-sounding outback-type Aborigine sounding howl that makes it sound somewhat diabolical sounding. Good effort on setting the atmosphere and tone. The following song just takes away that cool 'good' feeling of the opening and flushes it down the toilet. You would think that Dave would beg Max to pull something ala "Beneath The Remains" or fucking "Arise" at LEAST but no, we get another modern-day Sepultura/modern-day Soulfly song with Max Cavalera damn near rapping with that fucking annoying "WATCHYOBACKWTACHYOBACKWATCHYOBACKWATCHYOBACK!!1!1" part. Max you are fucking hopeless when it comes to getting away from your stupid bushman/wigger hybrid persona. Hate this song. Next song features Lemmy "Shake Your Blood"....guess what? It's sounds just like Motorhead. No surprise there. Not saying it's bad, but it's Lemmy and you know what to expect from big guy himself. "Access Babylon" features Mike Dean of C.O.C. and here we get back to the good groovy shit where it sounds a bit like "Technocracy" e.p. "Silent Spring" is the catchiest song off the entire album with Kurt Brecht of D.R.I. fame and that is sounds more Sabbathy than D.R.I. It has that bottom-end heaviness you might have gotten the pleasure from D.R.I. songs such as "Under The Wheel" or "5 Year Plan" during their "4 Of A kind/Crossover" days. "Ice Cold Man" with Lee Dorrian of Cathedral/Napalm Death fame....it sounds exactly like Cathedral. "The Emerald Law" featuring Wino of St. Vitus...sounds more like The Obsessed. Another damn good one, where it actually starts with a trippy psychedelic/stoner vibe in the beginning and the burst into a wall of feedback and driving distortion. Great song....and now we have an intermission.

Why? Because of the next track. This one specifically. As I write this, when this first came out, I was majorly fucking disappointed. Of course as I mentioned previously, it's been a number of years but when this song promised me a CF fan a possible return to that sound, it failed. It's a half-assed doom/industrial/pop track in the vein of Apollyon Sun. Fuck me for not being open-minded enough, but this is boring. Just flat out sucks. This song ranks up there next to "Red War" with Max Cavalera as the worst song on the entire album.

....back to the show.

After the shit fest of "Big Sky", we get to the song "Dictatorsaurus" featuring Snake of Voivod, and we're getting back to that comfortable spot where songs sound like they should. Snake sings his little heart out and the song even fucking sounds like Voivod....not so much like "Killing Technology", but take the best of post-"Nothingface" and it's what you have. Eric Wagner on "My Tortured Soul"??? Oh fuck yeah! Sound just like Trouble. Never a bad thing. And we come to the final track featuring none other than the king himself.....King motherfuckin' Diamond. The track is titled "Sweet Dreams" and it's a snoozer. It's a bit boring for the most part. Don't expect anything Andy LaRocque-ish here. Don't expect "Abigail", "Them", "Conspiracy", "The Eye", "Voodoo", or even "The Graveyard" for that matter....King Diamond and heavy Sabbath-sounding riffs don't tend to go together. You know what I mean, King Diamond's vocals only go with a certain sound and this song just doesn't cut it for me as a major fan of the King for both his solo and days in Mercyful Fate.

So a total sum-up for this album would be good. It's just good. It's not a must-have, must-own, nothing that would make it something worth shilling over $10-$15 over(oh hell, I'm sure you can find a used copy for cheaper these days), but it's one of those albums that you can listen to on Youtube and check out if you have some down-time. As far as Dave Grohl is concerned, he made up in my book at least. And I'll leave it at that.

An almost soulless assimilation project - 70%

kluseba, August 5th, 2011

The project of the famous Dave Grohl seemed rather intriguing to me. I have always known that he is musically diversified and knows a lot about metal music as he tells us for example on the bonus material of the "Tatsumaki" DVD of Voivod. It's their drummer Away that created the brilliant logo and cover for this project and their singer Snake performs on one of the album's highlights which is "Dictatosaurus" that could have fit on an album of the "Dimension Hatröss" era of that band. "The Emerald Law" with Wino from Saint Vitus and The Obsessed is a second highlight and great atmospheric doom metal track while "Sweet Dreams" with King Diamond resumes all the skills and styles of this singer in one coherent and interesting song.

All in all, there are twelve singers that Grohl invited which are mostly idols from his childhood. From hardcore to doom metal singer, we get pretty much delivered everything. The positive thing is that we don't only get the big names and famous musicians but also some rather unknown artists. All of this speaks volumes for Grohl's diversity, authenticity and passion. I have discovered a couple of new singers on this album and especially the hardcore performances are way better than I expected as I usually don't like this genre.

But Grohl even managed to perform one song with Motörhead's legendary singer and bass guitar player Lemmy Kilmister. His participation on "Shake Your Blood" is a perfect example for the main problem I have with this project. The song is completely assimilated to Motörhead standards and sounds as a filler that could have been included on any album of the band. The track is solid and rocks but it delivers nothing we haven't already heard in a similar and better way before.

This project is only a homage to twelve different singers but it sadly has no own soul, no particular style and nothing outstanding that might attract us to give more than one or two tries to the record and purchase it. Some tracks like the slow "Big Sky" featuring the singer of Celtic Frost and Hellhammer have interesting introductions but show no addicting evolution in almost six minutes of running time and ultimately sound rather monotonous. The hidden bonus track "I Am The Warlock" with Jack Black is another mediocre track and a slow hypnotizing rocker with the weakest vocal performance on the record.

In the end, some tracks have interesting parts and may please us as they remind us of the original bands of the invited singers. There is a lot of hit and miss on the record as many styles are united and it's almost impossible that all or just most of them may please us. You might pick your three or four favourite tracks while the other ones simply won't touch or impress you. This is one of the rare exceptions where I would recommend to purchase or download your highlights and skip the rest. As the songs are completely assimilated to the invited idols, there is no coherent style, guiding line or heart piece on the record. It's a compilation of a metal fan that has made his dreams come true with those twelve collaborations but for anybody else this record is not an outstanding experience. The flame is slowly burning down after a while even if the best tracks of the record can be found at its end in my humble opinion. I still congratulate Grohl for his integrity and the courage to make his dreams come true. He is the little piece of soul that still keeps the record at an acceptable level for me in the end and justifies my final verdict.

An Imperfect Homage to Metal - 68%

Crank_It_Up_To_666, December 8th, 2007

Probot: formed specifically to pay homage to this great genre by one of the biggest (and largely loathed) figures in the mainstream. Dave friggin’ Grohl of the Foo Fighters unleashed an album light years from the effervescent pop of his day job, drawing in 11 giants of metal to aid him. Bet no-one saw that coming.

This album is one that stands in quite the awkward position. Despite contributions from some bona-fide legends of our time, this entirely-Grohl penned record was met with great suspicion by the metal cognoscenti and still is avoided like a particularly diseased and cancerous emo record.
But, like that first time you saw that innocent, unassuming cover for Possessed’s ‘Seven Churches’, this is a highly misleading first impression of what is contained therein. ‘Probot’ is no masterpiece, but by FUCK is it an excellent and worthwhile tribute to metal’s glory.

The album doesn’t exactly re-invent the wheel, with simplistic riffage hiding a few hooks that are likely to put off extremity die-hards. Guitar parts remain secondary to Grohl’s drumming and of course the guest performances and not a solo is to be found throughout. Despite all this, the album carries itself with a certain irrefutable charm – it delivers a sharp and powerful performance and never goes beyond that. .

Opener ‘Centuries of Sin’ takes some time getting in but establishes a sinister mood, working wonders for assuring the cynics just how far removed from the Foo Fighters this is. Cronos of Venom gets things kicked off, delivering a top-notch vocal mauling against a seething backdrop of jackhammer drumming and fiercely grinding riffs.
Onwards one track we find Max Cavalera on ‘Red War’, a song that will certainly divide listeners – with Soulfly’s influence shining through, you’re advised to avoid if you can’t stand Max’s recent output.
There follows, as Grohl himself states in the liner notes, the cornerstone of the whole album – ‘Shake Your Blood’ featuring the unholy Lemmy of Motorhead. A rip-roaring motherfucker of a rock track, this is a gravel-throated rocking highlight, warranting a listen again and again and again.

After Lemmy has had his wicked way with your eardrums, it’s hard to see how C.O.C’s Mike Dean can possibly compare. Admittedly, ‘Access Babylon’ is nothing on ‘Shake Your Blood’ or ‘Centuries of Sin’, but the granddaddy of crossover gives it his all on the shortest, sharpest and nastiest shock of a song on the album. The old school done exceptionally well.
Kurt Brecht of D.R.I., meanwhile, can’t quite meet Dean’s challenge but makes a game attempt, backed by a stupidly catchy lead riff, forming a good if unexceptional song. Again, one that will certainly divide listeners.
Cathedral’s Lee Dorrian, meanwhile, makes ‘Ice Cold Man’ his own, the slowest and most lumbering song of the whole record ending up hijacked by his unmistakably nasty larynx. Brilliant stuff.

‘The Emerald Law’ is something of an oddity on this album. Wino’s performance is as you’d expect – nothing short of exceptional are his half-sung, half barked-like-a-Rottweiler vocal lines. Unfortunately, he’s backed by an utterly bland piece of backing music – listless drumming and plain boring guitars. Really, it’s best to tune into Wino and Wino only on this one.
This is the track that marks something of a decline in the song writing – it seems Grohl wore out of ideas by the time he got on to working with Celtic Frost’s Tom Warrior and Voivod’s Snake – a damn shame considering the status of these guys to the average rivet-head. While ‘Big Sky’ and ‘Dictatosauras’ benefit from their inarguably superb performances, it cannot be denied that these tracks lack something that made those before it so exceptional.

This was perhaps Grohl’s plan – to lull the listener into a false sense of tedium before pummelling their skulls in with the astounding ‘My Tortured Soul.’ Sweet bloody hell this song is good. Doom metal of the most epic kind, the main riff stands out all on it’s own, driven forward with full force by the crashing drums and of course, Eric Wagner’s soaring phoenix of a voice. Only ‘Shake Your Blood’ can take this track head-on and win.

King Diamond closes proceedings with the most unusual track of all – the sinister ‘Sweet Dreams’ is so far removed from the speedy thrash of Mercyful Fate or the King’s eponymous outfit that for a moment you will question if it’s truly the King. In the end, however, it does matter, for it is Jack Black who surprises everyone with the excellent ‘I Am The Warlock’, the perfect song to close the album as a good old fashioned, affectionate piss-take of almighty heavy metal. Seems Spinal Tap Syndrome infected even Grohl in the end.

A delightful little tribute to Metal. - 79%

erickg13, November 21st, 2006

When Dave Grohl’s name comes up what do you think of? I bet you said Nirvana, or Foo Fighters. But few know of his little side-project named Probot.

Probot is Dave’s baby despite the other big name singers on the bill (Lemmy, Wino, Tom G. Warrior, King Diamond, etc.). Reinforcing that point is that each song has Dave on the writing credits.

A few things word for this album, and a few work against. Some of the things that work for it are that the material is for the most part good to very good. Also each song is custom fit for each singer’s style. That in many ways is good because it sounds like the singers best known material, but in another sense isn’t. What is meant by that is, there is absolutely no continuity between each song, jumping from genre to genre. For instance one minute you could be on a hardcore song then jump into a doom metal song.

Starting with “Centuries of Sin” featuring Venom’s Chronos, the album gets off to a bit of a misleading note (not unlike, say, the classical acoustic in the beginning of Metallica’s Ride the Lightning), featuring monk-like humming. This isn’t one of the best tracks, but sets a mood, that this album will go all out.

Follow “Centuries of Sin” is “Red War” Featuring Max Cavalera of Sepultura and Soulfly. To be brutally honest this is the worst song of the album, and is total crap even on Soulfly standards.

Next is maybe the most key track, but certainly not the best, featuring Lemmy’s whiskey soaked vocals on “Shake Your Blood”, which sounds like a new interpretation of a Motorhead classic.

“Access Babylon” follows, which features C.O.C.’s Mike Dean. This is one of the best songs by far on the album. It is clearly more hardcore biased, which is refreshing. This may not have the same name quality of say Lemmy, but that doesn’t mean they just passed over this one.

“Silent Spring” with Kurt Brecht of DRI, is by far and away my personal favorite. It sounds absolutely awesome, and also has maybe the best lyrics on the album.

The next two songs, I find ironic, that “Ice Cold Man” a song featuring Lee Dorrian of Napalm Death, is longer than “Emerald Law” featuring doom metal madman Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich.

The next three songs are where the songwriting seemed to have dropped of before going back to the norm with “Sweet Dreams” featuring King Diamond. This song is good, but just doesn’t stand up to the song ‘that isn’t really there’ in Jack Blacks “I am the Warlock”.

All in All Probot is a decent album, but isn’t great, and won’t push any boundaries or anything, but is meant to look back on some of the best voices of years back. I can guarantee that if you get this album because a personal favorite is on it, you will come out liking at least one new singer.

Quick Aside: Kudos to Dave Grohl for releasing the album through Southern Lord and not, say, Sub Pop, or a major label such as Epic or A&M.

Pay Homage to Metal - 75%

Perpetual_Winter, April 2nd, 2005

When I heard about this project a couple years ago I was just surprised to see the vocalists that were included. I never really pegged Dave Grohl for a fan of real metal. As the time for this album approached and the hype went up, of course a good portion of the underground community, including myself, was nothing but skeptical, I decided I wasn't going to go out of my way to hear it. I kind of wish I had. When I took back over as Loud Rock Director at WUPX in Marquette this CD was waiting for me. I threw it in and was immediately impressed (then cringing, then impressed for the rest of the album, but I'll get into that in a minute).

Throughout the majority of the album, minus a few tracks, it seems like Grohl just tailored the music for each song to the vocalist singing on it. The song with Cronos sounds like Venom, the one with Lemmy sounds like Motörhead, the one with Lee Dorian sounds like Cathedral, etc. The only song that really isn't written in the same style as the performing artist is the King Diamond song. Its pretty entertaining hearing King singing to what sounds like southern rock. The only major consistencies between the songs is in the guitar tones and the fact that each song has a bit of a southern rock feeling to it. Each song has a heavy bass presence with audible bass lines, often lacking in higher budget metallic recordings. Grohl does not use any double bass drum on the entire album, but other than that the musicianship from Grohl (and his guests) is extremely tight and impressive.

Other than the fact that the song with Max Cavelera, "Red War," sounds like a Soulfly song, and the song "Big Sky" with Tom G. Warrior is just mediocre. On "Big Sky" I think they tried to give it a Celtic Frost - Vanity/Nemesis feel to it, and I guess they did, but it just bores me profusely. I have to say that the Mike Dean song, "Access Babylon" is pretty interesting just because its a real slap back to the past sound of Dean's other band COC. They haven't sounded anything like this since pre-Pepper Keenan. I definitely recommend checking out "Shake your Blood" w/ Lemmy (Motorhead), "Ice Cold Man" w/ Lee Dorian (Cathedral), and "The Emerald Law" w/ Wino (The Obsessed) (who puts out an amazing vocal performance on what is probably the best song on the album).

Overall I'm extremely impressed with this album. There really isn't anything original here, but Grohl said he was going to put out an album that paid homage to the metal he loves. Well, he did a damn fine job of it, and this may even creep onto my top 15 list at the end of the year.

On a personal note irrelevant to the review itself: I'm very happy that Grohl decided to go through Southern Lord Records. For whatever reasons he did I think that this has potential to be a boost for a label that caters to some of the more extreme ends of metal and expose some bands that really deserve a hell of a lot more than what they've got. Dave Grohl has really scored some points in my book with this release.

Simplistic, catchy, entertaining. - 80%

Yashka, March 28th, 2005

When I first heard this album when it originally came out, I hated it. Whether from dashed hopes or the principal musician involved, I can’t say. I thought it was boring, uninspired and overall just mediocre. After about 6 months of not listening to this, I borrowed the disc, listened to it, and came to the conclusion that it was a nifty little album. I realized that it was just musicians having fun, not taking themselves too seriously, and if you delve into this album with the same attitude you too can enjoy it for what it is. It’s just a guy doing what he enjoys with good friends that happen to be icons of the metal scene.

The songs themselves reflect the styles that the various vocalists main bands play. For example, the Lee Dorrian track is doom, the Mike Dean is a lesson in hardcore etc. Not all the songs follow this however and that where the problems lie. I was expecting a thrash song for Max Cavalera, but instead got a Soulfly outtake. The same applies to the Tom G. Warrior track. One would expect something like Celtic Frost but instead you get some goth sounding crap. Those two songs aren’t bad because they’re not what were expected, they’re simply weak. The Snake song isn’t overly Voivod-like, but it still sounds good so there’s no problem. Aside from Max Cavalera and Tom G. Warrior songs, I have no problems with album.

Dave Grohl isn’t the best riff writer out there, but the songs are varied and different sounding. He gets the job done. The album lacks guitar solos, but given the riffs, that doesn’t bother me too much. I think Dave is a better drummer than guitarist, and that shows in this album. The drumming is tight enough, with some nice fills and hardware work here and there.

Overall, I’d say this album was worth purchasing. Aside from 2 weak songs, the album is decent and entertaining. As long as you aren’t expecting the second coming of sliced bread, I think you won’t be too disappointed and might find a little joy in listening to this album.

Pretty Damn Good, Actually - 80%

corviderrant, May 2nd, 2004

I see a lot of people on this site are slamming this CD just because of Dave Grohl's main gig in order to seem more underground than thou--piss off, the lot of you, because I like it just fine. When approached as it is, this is a perfectly good album with solid riffing and drumming and some damn catchy tunes. A couple do aggravate, of course--most anything with Max Cavalera on it these days will be disappointing, I think--but since when was this going to be the be-all end-all? This is just a fun project that Dave cranked out and it feels that way to me.

My fave tunes on it are:

"Centuries of Sin": Cronos doing his thing as only he can, starting off with an eerie sample that sounds like Tibetan monks singing in the "awesome voice", and it roars into a nice 'eavy little number that drives like a Mack truck. That is, hard and merciless, with a catchy little chorus on top of the lot, and a thrashy little middle part that really charges up the tune. Mallcore, my ass!

"Shake Your Blood": With Lemmy on it, what did you think it was gonna sound like? Yep, a Motorhead outtake, loud distorted bass and all. Which is OK with me anyway, being that I loooove Motorhead like I do!

"Silent Spring": A slow, turbulent beginning with growling bass and thundering drums that rips into a punkish workout with Kurt Brecht ranting and yelling in his inimitable style. Catchy as hell and fantastic lyrics as well concerning the environment make this one a right keeper. A heavy, pounding chorus as well that drives the point home.

"The Emerald Law": My God...sublime, this is! Wino's vocals are the best on the record of all the singers featured, powerful and oozing passion with every word! This man is a legend and rightly so. The song itself is a bluesy, intense number with amazing dynamics that go from whisper to roar to whisper again into even louder roar that make Nirvana's recycling of that same formula seem as puerile and uninspired as it really was--very much both those things.

"Dictatosaurus": A cool title featuring Mr. Denis "Snake" Belanger with his unique approach and a herky-jerky style that is very reminiscent of Denis' main gig. Dave is a huge Voivod fan and has been for years, and it shows. Perfectly weird and spastic, yet catchy as hell.

"My Tortured Soul": Eric Wagner! Who else can own a tune like he does? With his Robert Plant-like style, he stands out as one of the more distinctive and melodic vocalists on this album. A very Trouble-sounding tune with an excellent main riff, and what is so bad about that? Nuthin'.

"I Am The Warlock": Wowzers...Jack Black? Didn't think the man had it in him! His vocals on this track are very metal, and a deeper, more guttural tone than ever I thought he could muster up. This one will pound yer head in between yer shoulders like a piledriver and you will love it.

All in all, Dave is to be commended, in my universe, for showing he can hang with the real deal metalwise. Foo Fighters, ehh, don't really care for 'em, but that doesn't mean I have to hate this. And I don't by any means. An open mind is key here, and it seems many of you here cannot muster that up. Too bad for you, I say.

Modernistic, recycled horseshit. - 22%

GrimAndFrostbitten, March 23rd, 2004

Despite all the familiar and true metal voices included on this album, and all the claims that have been made about it, this album is modern to the core. That's a bad thing.

As it has been said before, the production is absurd, and makes it all feel fabricated in a studio, and reeks of a modern/pseudo-industrial/alt-rock/mallcore vibe. The guitar tone has that thick detuned and distorted yet accessible sound, and the vocals are fucked with relentlessly. Fortunately, really blatant rap elements are absent.

Compositionally, this doesn't classify as doom or thrash, as other people have classified it, but generic heavy metal mixed with modern ... whatever. It doesn't classify as either "doom" or "thrash" or whatever it's been called, it's mostly pseudo-modern bullshit. There are many moments on this album characteristic of mallcore that sound like they could have come from right out of the playbook of Coal Chamber, Powerman 5000, Mudvayne, Godsmack, or some other modern act. There are some good, solid metal riffs here and there, but they're more or less recycled from Motorhead, or are otherwise generic. Furthermore, anything metal on here is difficult to recognize as metal through general feeling of the album, though a few do stand out to the trained ear.

I was impressed that Dave Grohl could play some of this stuff, since I don't think much of him, Foo Fighters, or anything else considering how much they focus on mediocrity. Grohl even does a touch of some shredding, though it's hard to hear and even notice. Obviously, he played this one by the modern book and put those to the rear, even though I assume he did the solos themselves.

In summation, the songs are mostly attempts to take some old heavy metal and recycle it with a really modern sound, sort of like Hollywood does by rehashing and ruining classic movies with computer generated graphics and what not. That may not be a proper parallel, though. None of the album is consistently any good, from the Motorhead parts to the crossover parts, regardless if Cronos or King Diamond or whoever is singing on it. To someone who has never been into anything but what the record companies pass off as "metal," this would probably be mindblowing, but that's only in another context. In the context of real metal, this is pretty much crap.

time to give up the day job, Dave - 61%

kollex, February 27th, 2004

Dave Grohl’s track record is pretty good. Scream were a good if not great DC hardcore band. Nirvana were the scene setters and leaders (if you haven’t got In Utero and like alternative rock then get it) of alternative rock for a while. Then he founded the Foo Fighters; they who suck more than Monica Lewnisky. Over produced, permanently annoying, pop rock for kids who found Nirvana a bit too raw. Which makes the fact Probot are so good very surprising. Grohl and his Nirvana buddies always dropped hints about their knowledge of the underground metal scene whether it be by nearly getting Sepultura on the in utero tour (although that is a very a tenacious claim to being down with the underground) to openly stating that they wanted Bleach to sound like a mix of Celtic Frost and the beach boys.
So Dave knew his shit when he decided to gather 11 of the most inspirational metal vocalists from the 80’s (and Jack Black) together to record his ode to that groundbreaking time in music. A decision with may or may not be due to the fact he had as much credibility as Nickelback before this album came out.

Probot the album is one kickass trip back into the 80’s that no fan of 80’s metal cannot ignore. Musically the majority of the album is raucous fast paced heavy metal on which both doom metal and Venom are more influential than most. This isn’t to say that Probot only has one sound as Grohl also experiments with hardcore on access Babylon and with Entombed-esque death n roll, on Centuries of sin.
Grohl’s musicianship in this album is superb. His knack for crunching riffs and haunting and visionary melodies is wonderfully combined with his excellent guitar work. I personally hope he sets up a similar metal project again, as this is work that is of better quality than most full time metal bands.

Of the individual contributions, only a few are less than exceptional. From Lee Dorrians groovy yet ethereal performance on ice cold man to Kurt Brecht’s confident and cocky take on silent spring most of the vocalists show they can still do it as well as they did 15 to 20 years ago. Even Jack Black’s vocals on the secret track evoke the spirit and the full force of metal more than pretenders both nu and true have done recently. The standout track is my tortured soul which feature’s Eric Wagner of Trouble. The song itself is a brilliant piece of heavy metal boogie which benefits greatly from Grohl’s uncanny ability to find soul piercing melodies. The song is vastly improved (being that its great in the first place shows just how talented Eric Wagner is) by Eric Wagners passionate vocal performance and though provoking lyrics. This song actually achieved Grohl’s aim of bringing 80’s underground metal to a wider audience as know I can wait to get my hands on a copy of psalm 69. Also King Diamond fans should check out sweet dreams as the kings turns what could have been a below par Sabbath homage track into a theatrical and enjoyable piece of musical magic

Its not all good news though. One track falls short of the albums standard. Red War featuring Max Cavalera is average at best (which means it’s the best thing he’s ever done on 10 years).

All in all, all fans of any of the acts features on here and of metal in general should check this album out. Grohl proves that the fires of metal burn deep within his heart and that he has more metal in his little finger than the likes of Hatebreed and Lamb of god have in their entire body’s