Ask a typical heavy metal fan about Black Sabbath and the response will more
than likely begin with Sabbath’s status as the most influential heavy metal band
ever as well as their contention for the crown of greatest heavy metal band.
Then of course you’ll hear about Ozzy, the most famous (and infamous) member of
the band. A true fan will be quick to credit Tonni Iommi as being the author of
some of the meanest metal riffs ever recorded. Just listen to the track
“Supernaut” if you have any doubts. But when asked about the other members of
Sabbath, that’s when the responses typically bog down. How about Geezer Butler?
“Um…cool name…great bass solo at the beginning of N.I.B.” And Bill Ward?
“the drummer…right?” This hypothetical Q & A raises two questions: “is there a demand
for a Geezer Butler solo album?” and “could it really be any good?” I’ll leave
the first question up to you, but I can definitely answer the second.
Before playing any tracks, I had a preconception that I would be listening to
songs with a retro 70’s metal sound recounting epic battles involving demons and
wizards. And why not? Judas Priest recently achieved mild success with old
school metal on Angel of Retribution. To my surprise, all the songs on Ohmwork
sounded like every other Slip/Drowning/Mud band playing on (or plaguing?) hard
rock radio today. Not what you would expect from a 55-year-old founding member
of Black Sabbath.
The overall flaw with Ohmwork is the lack on organization on most of the songs.
The music is hard and fast but the tempo changes, necessary to transition
between singing and screaming, feel awkward and forced. Singer Clark Brown
spends half the record belting out inaudible lyrics in his (patented? dream on!)
guttural delivery. Hearing the words “Force fed, man made” screamed over and
over on the track “Pseudocide” serve only to bludgeon the listener. There are a
few bright spots on the album. “I Believe” and “Don’t You Know” work best
because the band is able to temper their urge to scream and thrash. When taken
with the rest of the album, these songs will sound better than they actually
Years ago when the formula of mixing singing, rapping and screaming was
introduced (hello Faith No More, I’m talking to you), who knew it would be the
blueprint used by so many bands today. Perhaps the bar was set unfairly high for
Geezer in this review, but when a member of a legendary band creates songs that
duplicate rather than innovate, you must assign a failing grade to this piece of