Probot - Probot (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Probot (2004)

Southern Lord

I've tried with no avail to convince my fellow editors that I'm the worst person to tackle this review.

It's not so much an age issue, as like many of my generation I've had no problem immersing myself in punk material from the 70s despite not being around then (or at least too young to be conscious of it). 80s metal on the other hand represents a big gaping void to me, something I'll respect for what it is but can't rightly pass judgment on. What makes Probot so interesting to me is how much of a labor of love this was to Dave Grohl and how much that's reflected in the end recordings.

Rightfully the songs here fall more on the side of hero worship then they do on parody, which is always a risk when dealing with a form of music with so many well-recognized and oft misunderstood extremes. Grohl plays most of the instruments on the record, his characteristic drumming shining on every track. Soundgarden's Kim Thayil contributes some guitar work as well along with Zwan/Chavez guitarist Matt Sweeney.

However it's the vocalists that make this project. Grohl not only collected an all-star cast of metal vocalists but he wisely let them write their own lyrics over his music. This gives the songs an air of authenticity that a tribute like this might otherwise lack.

Cronos from Venom kicks things off, followed by a raging track from Soulfly / Sepultura's Max Cavalra. Motörhead's Lemmy appears on the infectious "Shake Your Blood," an obvious single and a highlight of the album for me. The same can be said of the contribution by DRI's Kurt Brecht. Also appearing are Corrosion of Conformity's Mike Dean, Lee Dorrian of Cathedral / Napalm Death fame and Wino of Palace Of Skulls / Obsessed and others. Filling out the roster is Tom G. Warrior of Celtic Frost / Apollyon Son, Voivod's Snake, Trouble's Eric Wagner and King Diamond of Mercyful Fate. Diamond's collaboration is the album's most blatantly theatrical song, and one that almost borders on self-parody.

Probot should be an absolute joy for anyone who had even a passing interest in the 80s metal scene. For those of us outside that crowd there's still a lot to like here. The effort Grohl threw behind Probot goes a long way in turning this curious concept for a sideproject into something far more legit and endearing.