Geezer Butler, Manipulations of the Mind (Sanctuary / BMG 2021)

All of Geezer Butler’s solo work has been collected in a box set, along with rarities and live tracks.

International legendary bassist Geezer Butler, one of the original members of Black Sabbath, released three solo albums over the years. The music sounded nothing like Black Sabbath at all. Instead, it was more in the Industrial Metal vein, and there was a lot of talk about this back in the day because, maybe, fans wanted to something more like what they’d heard before. Take these albums on their own terms instead and you will find a treasure trove of heavy music.

The three separate albums originally were released under three different band names, G//Z/R for Plastic Planet (1995), Geezer for Black Science (1997), and GZR for Ohmwork (2005). In the new box, the original artwork is preserved and Geezer Butler has been inserted to replace the original release band names.

There is a fourth disc in the set that contains alternate takes and demos. It also has “Beach Skeleton,” which was a bonus track on a deluxe edition of Black Science. A bigger bonus for me is the three live tracks that are also included, “Drive Boy, Shooting,” “Detective 27,” and “House of Clouds,” all originally on the Plastic Planet album. I have seen Geezer Butler perform many times with Black Sabbath and, later, with Deadland Ritual. I never did see him perform any of these songs live, however, so it is great to hear them now.

This box set is an import for US buyers. You can get it on-line at major retailers like Amazon and Target, and your favorite record store can probably order a copy for you, too. If the box is too much for you, there is also a single-disc “best of” out there now which has some tasty bits. I recommend go all in and grab the full box.

Live photos of Geezer Butler by Wayne Edwards at Aftershock 2019 performing with Deadland Ritual.

Links.

Geezer Butler website, http://www.geezerbutler.com/

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY-qM3oNJx9E0L8UZEXPZug

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/gzrmusic

Geezer Butler, Manipulations of the Mind (Sanctuary / BMG 2021)

Chevelle, Niratias (Epic Records 2021)

The ninth album from Chevelle might be their heaviest one yet and therefore the most appealing to metal fans so far.

At this point, it is almost thirty years that Chevelle has been making music. In that time, they have sold more than four million album in the US. There first full-length album came out in 1999, Point #1, but they had to wait all the way until their second album, Wonder What’s Next, to sell in platinum numbers. They offer a guitar-driven, pop-oriented rock approach, and the new album, especially, leans in on the heavy and will have a broad appeal to metal fans.

I had not followed Chevelle very closely until a couple years ago when I saw them perform live at Aftershock in Sacramento. I found out two things: they have a lot of dedicated fans and they put on a great show. When I read the announcement for the new album, my focus sharpened with the memory the band playing in the California sun.

Niratias has thirteen tracks, including a transition bit or two. The opener is an instrumental, “Verruckt,” and it is a compelling piece that sounds like the process that goes on inside the CPU of an angry robot if it was thinking about heavy metal. “So Long, Mother Earth” is more pop-oriented and catchy, making it a go-to track for fans of yore. And then you are hit with “Mars Simula” and its aggressive stabbing riffs. The variety in the songs starts to make itself known, settling the idea of what kind of a record this will be.

Throughout the album there are tracks that stand out for me like “Pisstol Star,” which is claustrophobic and tense, and “Peach” with its excellent lead guitar work. The set closes down with the big statement of “Ghost and Razor” showing off a low, heavy sound that is burgeoning with angst (my favorite track) and walking off stage with “Lost In Digital Woods.” That last one is a quiet downer of sad poetry and piano for two minutes, then nature sounds or possibly screaming, and finally there is an echoing guitar that warbles in (and then out) in the final 75 seconds. Make what you will of that.

Niratias is out now. Hit the store link below to peruse the versions. It is a big album from every angle. Recommended.

Live band photo by Wayne Edwards from Aftershock 2019.

Links.

Website, https://getmorechevelle.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/chevelle

Store, https://getsomemerchandise.com/chevelle-merch/chevelle-music

Chevelle, Niratias (Epic Records 2021)