Geezer Butler, a founder member of Black Sabbath, presents his entire solo records in one convenient place (A box Set) and doesn’t stop there as he also includes lost tunes and other unreleased material. What you get for your money is his three solo albums as well as a fourth bonus disc made up of tht largely unreleased material.
‘Plastic Planet’ was released back in 1995 under the name g/z/r and featured Burton C. Bell of metal titans Fear Factory on vocals and is considered something of a classic of 90s heavy metal. The album saw Geezer’s doomy primarily blues orientated mixed with the more industrial influenced metal sound that was just becoming a big thing in the nineties. This was heavy metal with a thud as songs like the brutal ‘Drive-By Shooting’ raised an eyebrow or two. Something of a departure from that Classic Sabbath sound this was Geezer taking a chance for sure and certainly not standing still. After the epic opener ‘Catatonic Eclipse’ had twisted and turned its six plus minutes into your ear people should sit more comfortably for what was to come.
With a relatively short turn around 1997’s ‘Black Science’ which had dropped the G/Z/R name and gone with the simple ‘Geezer’, this album sees Butler again work with drummer Deen Castronovo and guitarist Pedro Howse, and like ‘Plastic Planet’, was produced by Butler and Paul Northfield. Bell was unable to provide vocals this time due to commitments with Fear Factory, but his place on the mic was filled by the then completely unknown Clark Brown who delivered an impressively powerful vocal performance over the album’s high-energy and heavy power grooves. Opening with the ‘Man In The Suitcase’ the direction was similar to that of the debut with the emphasis being on powerful grooves and heavy guitar licks. There were forays into the unknown like on ‘Mysterons’ with samples and synths being used to enhance the alien and out-of-body experience as the main thrust of the album’s lyrical matter was that of aliens, mystery and that of the unknown. ‘Department S’ had its interesting intro before breaking out and making way for Geezer to open up his bass effects on ‘Area Code 51’ again with its grinding groove metal being the main player. there was ‘Northern Wisdom’ to enter a trip-hop territory with breakbeats before signing off with ‘Trinity Road’
It wouldn’t be until 2005 that Geezer would get the chance to continue his solo explorations, having returned to Sabbath for the 1997 edition of Ozzfest, remaining in the band ever since, but in 2005 he released ‘Ohmwork’, this time under the name GZR again. Once again the album featured Clark Brown on vocals and Pedro Howse on guitar, the difference this time being that drum duties were handled by Chad E Smith (the veteran St. Louis drummer, not the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer).
With ‘Ohmwork’, it was less industrial metal influences that the previous albums were heavily influenced by, but Geezer still didn’t really lean on his past works with Sabbath although obviously, the influence is there it’s still more contemporary than Sabbath but less than his previous offerings and maybe a more traditional heavy rock sound. Above everything, Geezer was and is a music fan and was passionate about the genre that had served him so well drawing on influences from everything that was going on in rock at the time. The metal of ‘Aural Sects’ to the epic, psychedelia of ‘I Believe’ with its gentle acoustic intro that builds and builds into a swirling epic seven minutes. ‘Ohmwork’ was a welcome addition to Geezer’s solo work and a fine full stop to his trilogy that offered a journey of discovery and experimentation from the Bass player as he expertly weaved his songwriting on one hell of a journey and a decade of discovery.
The bonus disc here features material that will be the disc fans will gravitate towards as it’s taken from throughout the sessions of all three albums with rare and unheard material, including three live tracks lifted from his debut album and feature Burton C. Bell on vocals. There are plenty of demo versions, instrumentals, and rough mixes on offer spread out over fifteen tracks.
This brand-new collection brings together all three solo albums under one clamshell roof for the first time and also features a booklet with never-before-seen photos from the studio from when the original albums were recorded. wrapping up an impressive set to go with all the other excellent Sabbath packages that have recently been released. Again one not to miss from the very talented and capable hands of Mr. Terance Butler.
*There is also a seventeen-track compilation Best Off to accompany this release with tracks taken from all three solo albums. Obviously entitled ‘The Very Best Of Geezer Butler.
Author: Dom Daley