From explosive drummer in Nirvana to vibrant frontman in the Foo
Fighters, Dave Grohl consistently proves his worth and versatility
as an icon in the alternative rock scene. A willingness to
experiment coupled with a newly incarnated alter ego is the driving
force behind Probot, Grohl’s latest, bold collaborative
effort. With guest vocal appearances by underground thrash metal
luminaries, the lead Foo pays homage to his musical heroes. In
turn, the idols showcase their gratitude, honoring themselves in
Opening the album is the powerful “Centuries of
Sin.” At the helm are the throaty vocals of Venom’s
Cronos, backed by pounding drums and searing guitar licks, thick
with grinding fuzz and pulsating boost. The lyrics fittingly
include cantankerous notions of death, hell, violence and darkness.
Together, each of these qualities contributes to a successful
opener for a highly energetic record.
Yet after listening to a few select tracks — namely
“Silent Spring,” “Red War” and “My
Tortured Soul” — the music blends together in a melting
pot of noise. Basically, one need only listen to a few songs to
grasp the gist of the entire album. However, “Shake Your
Blood” and the punk-infused, “Access Babylon,”
prove to be the more memorable gems on this record, elevating
liveliness to new levels. Both succeed remarkably in presenting an
atmosphere highly conducive to moshing vis-à-vis cut-time
tempo and heavily distorted power chords. Lemmy and Mike Dean,
vocalists from Motorhead and Corrosion of Conformity respectively,
tirelessly demonstrate efforts to instill a newfound appreciation
for the genre they helped define.
Despite its mediocrity, Probot’s efforts to repackage and
renew dated underground metal are somewhat refreshing among a
market overflowing with wannabe rockers. Furthermore, reviving
metal from the grave and reestablishing it at the forefront reminds
metalheads and headbangers everywhere that there is hope in the
face of nü metal’s fraudulence.
Through this thrash metal tribute album, rock fans can easily
conjure musical images of the earliest grunge roots. More
importantly, Probot represents a critical pause-point in
Grohl’s career whereby he acknowledges past influences in
preparation for a possible reinvention of musical direction.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars