Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back Mr. Dave Grohl !!!
Dave Grohl doesn't come back with the Foo Fighters, a band starting to lose a bit of interest, he doesn't come back with The Queens of the Stone Age, the band who made the word Stoner rhyme with stoned, and he neither comes back with Nirvana, a little band a little known.
The guy comes back with a new band called Probot. It's not really a band, it's more a project as it has a singer per song. I mean the singer changes on every song. Grohl wanted to do himself a little favour and make a record with the singers he used to listen to when he was younger. So you can bet it sounds old school most of the time, and if you like the last Crazy Town you can stop reading here.
Still with me? Ok, let's continue now that we have eliminated the scum of society.
In fact, Dave Grohl wrote the musics to these songs and he sent them to various singer in order for them to write their own lyrics and sing.
The album opens with a song called "Centuries of Sin", and on the microphone, you have the person who probably invented Black Metal, the person who sold his soul to the God Rock'n'Roll, Cronos, Venom's singer. The song is really great, the guitar riff in fact could have been a Venom's one, I mean we are far away from their song "Black Metal", but the spirit is here, it's fast and it has balls.
Second track, "Red War", sees Max Cavalera singing. He still has his powerful voice that was part of the success of Sepultura back in the old days. Good song once again, I particularly like the opening riff with the stop in it, it reminds me of the first Soulfly album.
Third song is with Lemmy. It's pure Rock'n'Roll, and it really looks like a Mötorhead song. You will easily notice that Lemmy hasn't lost his fingers on the way to the studio, pay attention to the middle of the song on the drum and bass part. Definitely one of the best song on this record.
So, for the moment three songs, three good songs.
The fourth song is called "Access Babylon" with Mike Dean, singer of Corrosion of Conformity. The song is short but efficient, it's not really what I like, but as it is short, it's ok.
Fifth song, "Silent Spring" with Kurt Brecht, is in the same style as "Access Babylon", quite hardcore, but it has a really good guitar riff all in pull offs, and a catchy chorus. It's looks a little bit like if Biohazard was born on the other coast. There's a kind of California spirit in this song, don't ask me why.
Sixth song is one of my favourite. It's called "Ice Cold Man". Lee Dorian on the microphone, Napalm Death and Cathedral, and Kim Thayil from Soundgarden is doing one of his best guitar solo. The song is really thick and the voice is fantastic. It's more Cathedral than Napalm Death, it's not fast save from the kind of bridge which doubles the tempo on the middle of the song.
"The Emerald Law" is the next song, with Wino from The Obsessed and Spirit Caravan singing. As I know neither of these two bands, I can't make any comparison. Objectively, the song is good and Grohl is definitively doing a great work in it.
Tom G. Warrior sings on the eighth song called "Big
Sky". Total stoner guitar riff, very repetitive, but you don't care. It's
far from being the best song here, but it's ok.Number nine is
"Dictatorsaurus", a kind of animal we'd like to be dead. Snake, from
Voivod and not from Zit Remedy, is the singer on this one. It has an amazing
introduction, but I mean, when I say amazing, in fact it's totally insane, I had
to listen to it a bunch of times to understand it. It's a shame I don't really
like the voice, but I think that if I listen to it a little bit more, I will
cope with it. It's a really nice song and the drums part is really good.
Tenth song is "My Tortured Soul" with Eric Wagner. It's probably one of the most inventive. It's more stoner than anything else and it has something seventies in the chorus. It's really soft, no violence here, even if it is deeply rooted in Rock'n'Roll.
Eleventh and last track is "Sweet Dreams" and it has nothing to do with Marilyn Manson or with Eurythmics. These "Sweet Dreams" are the ones of King Diamond. Kim Thayil is back again here and I totally agree. The main guitar riff is stunning. Grohl is good at drumming but he knows as well how to pull off good songs. The voice is really seventies, going very high sometimes, and Kim Thayil does a really good job, his solo in total Superunknown style is pure honey and reminds me of Soundgarden at its best.
So, as you can see it, save from one song or maybe two, the album is really ok. Some songs are really good and others are just fine. The problem here is that there's no song much better than any other, the album is almost at the same "level" from beginning to the end. It took me three listenings to spot the outstanding songs. Probably because of the changing voices and styles, even if there's a kind of unity through out the eleven tracks. The fact is that I was maybe expecting a little bit more as I have been waiting during five years to listen to Probot. It's not an awesome album, it's just a good album. It takes time to appreciate fully, give it at least two or three careful listenings before telling wether you like it or not.
One last piece of advice, don't take into account the sleeve which is, in my opinion, terrible. I don't know what exactly they have tried to do, but obviously, they have failed.
/mar 1st 2004/