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GZR – Ohmywork

Once upon a time in the annals of rock history, there was a man named Terry “Geezer” Butler, who, along with his friends John, Tony and Bill, became 20th-century legends. They pounded and plodded through a haunting sludge of aural darkness under the moniker of Black Sabbath, forever leaving an indelible mark on the face of heavy metal.

Today, Geezer finds himself standing behind the latest effort of his solo project, GZR, where the metal chops still ooze like slime dripping from a cauldron. Yet, what plagues his namesake outfit is the same thing that disturbs any metal maven brave enough to try anything without the proverbial iconic front man – identity crisis.


Take Judas Priest for example. Remember when Rob Halford left the masters of British Steel and was replaced by Marky Mark? What happened then is the same thing that’s happening with GZR now – unknown metal vocal guy trying to become rock vocal hero by any means necessary. More often than not, that adds up to a guy trying too hard to be somebody and ends up being nobody instead.

Now, let’s get a few things straight. Is GZR’s Ohmwork worthy of your hard-earned dollars? Yes, particularly if you have a soft spot for Sabbath or easy-to-swallow nü-metal. Is there plenty of campy metal wordplay? With song titles like “Aural Sects” and “Dogs of Whore,” there’s no question. And what of vocalist Clark Brown? Is he an okay guy? Well, that’s the real question, now isn’t it?

To be certain, Brown’s vocal strength and diversity is a welcome addition to Geezer’s album. Let’s face it, he has some serious pipes. But after a few listens of Ohmwork, one can’t help but engage in a rousing game of “Which vocalist am I now?” One minute, he’s Mike Patton, the next he’s Jonathan Davis. Somehow he does a great Layne Staley/Jerry Cantrell harmony on “Pardon My Depression.”

So, yes, we’re nit-picking here. Unfortunately, this minor detail happens to be the major issue with most albums of Ohmwork’s ilk. Unknown metal vocal dude needs to learn his place and just complement the tune, instead of playing the part of Sebastian Bach with a Diamond Dave complex. But if you shirk the role of overzealous music critic guy, you’ll find a solid work with hard-hitting rhythms, guttural wails and that thick and dirty muck for which Geezer and the boys of Sabbath are known.


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