GZR Ohmwork

Eight years since their sophomore jinx, Black Science, legendary Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler returns with GZR for a third attempt to crack the popularity charts with his anti-Sabbath-inspired metal du jour. Nothing can approach the majesty of 1995’s Plastic Planet with Fear Factory’s Burt Bell at the helm, yet Butler keeps trying with nephew Pedro Howse on guitar, Clark Brown on vocals, and ex-Anacrusis drummer Chad Smith replacing Ozzy skins-man Deen Castronovo. The band also change their moniker from the simple Geezer of Black Science (which was a vast improvement on the dodgy g//z/r of Plastic Planet) to GZR this time around — a telltale sign of the indecisive metal contained within. Album opener "Misfit” exemplifies their stance on Biohazard-aping power metal, but "Pardon My Depression” smacks of a heavier-groove-based Alice in Chains. The tepid "Prisoner 103” is pure Korn worship, while the mostly acoustic "I Believe” (featuring Apartment 26 front-man and Butler’s son Biff on backing vox) sounds like a more Southern-rocking Staind. The driving "Aural Sects” and "Pull the String” are more aggro strains of nü-metal, and "Pseudocide” is made slightly less gauche by the addition of female vocals that resemble the squeak of the Go-Go’s’ Belinda Carlisle. The doomier "Alone” could be a Strapping Young Lad ballad, and the politically-charged "Dogs of Whore” begins with some Godflesh-/Course of Empire-ish chord regressions before slipping into the morass of mall-core metal. In avoiding any Sabbath trappings, Butler unfortunately gets caught in a worse snare: emulating his son’s music rather than his own. (Sanctuary)