Posted by KingShamus on October 22, 2012
Rockety Rock Rocktober.
With Soulfly and Sepultura singer Max Cavalera on lead vocals.
Probot was the brainchild of Foo Fighters head fighter Dave Grohl. He wanted to create a tribute to the metal and hardcore groups of his youth. Where most people would unpack their old Judas Priest albums and make a an Ipod playlist, Grohl wrote and recorded songs inspired by the singers from old-skool 80’s and 90’s heavy bands. Even better, he got those vocalists to sing on the sessions that would eventually become the Probot album.
All told, Probot is a faithful homage to classic metal. “Red War” captures Chaos AD-era Sepultura in fine fashion. The menacing “Centuries of Sin” goes from a brisk stomping groove to a hurtling breakneck finish. “My Tortured Soul” is an inspired bit of sludge metal. ‘Shake Your Blood”, with Motorhead’s own Lemmy playing bass and growling, leers as good as anything on Ace of Spades.
If there is a criticism to be made, it’s that Grohl could’ve used some more musicians to flesh out the tunes. Grohl’s drums, bass and rhythm guitar work is spot-on, but a few strategically placed guitar solos would’ve turned a few of the unpolished gems into masterpieces. Unfortunately more than a few songs, like “Big Sky” and “Sweet Dreams”, feel like half-completed ideas. Another collaborator, adding guitar parts or secondary riffs, could’ve helped a great deal.
These are niggling complaints though. For most metal fans, Probot is a faithful valentine to some of the best heavy music ever made. Dave Grohl’s work in the Foo Fighters might be a little too poppy and he might be a flaming liberal bedwetter, but you can’t front on his immense talent.
More importantly, when it comes to Probot, the disc ultimately works because Grohl unashamedly lets out his inner head-banger for all to see. His obvious love of the material and the metal-bro energy he brings to the project mostly smooths over any rough patches along the way. If you like heavy music, Probot is a must have album.
ALSO: I’ll be live-tweeting the debate tonight. You know where to find me. Say, do you think Bob “Not Claudia” Schieeeeeeeeffffeerrrrrrr is going to try to buck up St. Barry’s sagging poll numbers?
Posted in Music Monday | Tagged: Dave Grohl, Max Cavalera, Music Monday, Probot, Red War, Sepultura, Soulfly | Leave a Comment »
Posted by KingShamus on January 16, 2012
Helmet is the brainchild of Page Hamilton. Originally a jazz guitar student, Hamilton stumbled on a distortion pedal sometime in the 80’s and it seems to have changed his life. For a time he was a member of the experimental New York City post-punk collective Band of Susans and he appeared on their Love Agenda album. That group’s use of feedback, repetition, noise and unconventional song structures rubbed off on Hamilton’s later work.
It wasn’t until Hamilton founded Helmet in the early 90’s that he found his signature sound. Rock journalist Greg Kot once described Helmet as ‘the death of melody’. That might’ve been an overstatement, but not by much. Hamilton’s use of the drop-D guitar tuning (sometimes drop-C) and his fondness for pummeling rhythms left little room for catchy sounds. Moreover Hamilton’s vocals, alternating between a guttural snarl and an Ozzy-like lament, contributed to the overall menacing vibe of the band.
For a time, Helmet loomed large on the heavy music scene. Pantera and Sepultura both nicked Helmet’s syncopated start-stop rhythm style. Bands like 311, Korn and Deftones tuned their snare drums very high, emulating Helmet drummer John Stanier’s Caribbean-influenced tone. Given their outsized influence, it’s safe to say the nineties simply wouldn’t have been quite as heavy without Helmet.
Interestingly, while Helmet changed the sound of rock, they never really seemed to click with mainstream audiences. Hamilton’s single-minded focus on rhythm meant their wasn’t a lot of change between albums. Also, it’s not like Hamilton was writing pop songs. Helmet released singles like “Sinatra”, a slow burn punker-than-thou jazzbo number and “Unsung”, which was big on relentless hammering and easy on melodic hooks. Not exactly ear candy, even by premillennial metal standards
But even though the band never really took off, that doesn’t mean they aren’t cool. I dunno if Hamilton ever really wanted to be a pop sensation. It seems like Helmet was meant to reflect Hamilton’s focused musical vision. While I’m not in love with Helmet’s post-90’s work, they’re still great. Check it out.
Posted in Music Monday | Tagged: 311, Bad Mood, Deftones, Driving Nowhere, FBLA II, Helmet, In The Meantime, Korn, Milquetoast, Page Hamilton, Pantera, Sepultura, Sinatra, Unsing, Wilma's Rainbow | Leave a Comment »