Ohmwork - GZR

Even the gods can fuck up. Tony Iommi released the truly execrable "Forbidden" under the BLACK SABBATH name shortly before reuniting with the band's original lineup. Ozzy has those Bea Arthur stage outfits from the early 1980s to live down (not to mention — cue the hate mail — the steaming pile of AOR cack that was "The Ultimate Sin"). Now Geezer Butler, often credited as the most cool and "with-it" member of SABBATH, resurrects his GZR act after an eight-year silence… and adds his name and considerable talents to another entry in the Hall of Shame.

Put simply, this wouldn't be seeing the light of day (at least not as anything but some local band's CD-R demo) if Butler was not involved. These songs are by turns half-baked and overwrought, ripping off Modern Rock 101 cliché left and right — bits and pieces of ALICE IN CHAINS, black-album METALLICA, GODSMACK, SEVENDUST, and throw in your least favorite nu-metal band while you're at it.

Vocalist Clark Brown is a bit emotionless and generic, but he does the best he can with the material he's given — he saves the chorus of the otherwise-terrible "Pull the String", for instance. But when the rest of the song sounds like a LIMP BIZKIT throwaway, there's not much to be done — and "Prisoner 103" is even more cringe-inducing and dated. "I Believe", the first single, contains the only menacing, SABBATH-y riff on the entire album, and it's stuffed between a go-nowhere acoustic part and slathered with another generic bark from Brown. Of the ten tracks, only "Dogs of Whore", the brooding "Alone" (which sounds a bit like KORN), and "Pseudocide", with its little extra production kick and DEVIN TOWNSEND-lite feel, are even interesting. They're not even that great, but after sitting through the first half of "Ohmwork", they sound like fuckin' classics!

I admit, it's been a while since GZR popped up in my memory banks. But I don't remember either the Burton Bell-fronted "Plastic Planet" or follow-up "Black Science" sucking quite like this. I see two possibilities here: either guitarist Pedro Howse put this post-modern suckfest together and got Geez to phone it in for the sake of putting his name on the project, or (more likely) this is really what a man pushing 60 thinks the hip new sound is. You gotta feel for Howse and Brown if that's the case — would you wanna be the one in the studio with Geezer fucking Butler stuck with the job of telling him his songs suck?

Luckily, that's not your problem or mine. There's way too much good stuff out there to make "Ohmwork" worth bothering with, save for the most neurotically obsessive SABBATH completists.

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