By Erik Fong

(Southern Lord)

Probot's practically been in the oven as long as Chinese Democracy - but only for lack of time, not for lack of spine. The result of Dave Grohl's long-awaited metal project could've gone several ways, almost all ending in a cavern of disappointment. For starters, no one quite knows what mainstream artists mean these days when they say "metal." Sure, Grohl has voiced his love of old Metallica, Sepultura and Celtic Frost - but then again, Sum 41 likes Exodus.

Not to mention it's impossible to anticipate just exactly where the middle ground between Grohl and his all-star list of Probot guest singers would be. Would Motorhead frontman Lemmy lend his trademark vocals to a Monkees-flavored Foo Fighters song? Did Soulfly's Max Cavalera bark his ass off on inoffensive faux-metal for a few extra bucks and, hey, maybe even a split second's worth of camera time on MTV? That's probably it, right? Far be it from Grohl to have - gasp - underground cred!

Fear not, purists, for it was not your heroes who rode Grohl's coattails to glory. No, it was the Nirvana drummer himself (that's "Shitvana" in Zakk Wylde-speak) who wanted the time of your heavy metal idols. Because they're his idols too. Hell, they were probably his idols before they were yours.

With so many guest singers, there's plenty of musical variety to mix the album up, and Grohl did his homework well. Each vocalist handled his own lyrics, and they each just did what they do best - the appropriate musical platforms were plunked down by Grohl's solid, versatile drumming and heavier-than-you-think guitar riffs. The whole album is all Grohl's handiwork - the man knows his shit, folks. Snake's "Dictatosaurus" is abrasive, melodic and energetic, a true hail to thrash with taste. Max Cavalera's "Red War" opens with a "Territory"-like drum intro, leading into thick, Roots-y guitar riffage - hey, it's Soulfly, only the music's good! "The Emerald Law," Wino's baby, is a quicker-paced stoner jam that grooves and pumps like true Wino fans deserve. Tom G. Warrior's "Big Sky" is catchy and stupid - four minutes of headbanger heaven. And a two-word review for the album's closer, "Sweet Dreams": King. f**king. Diamond.

Probot is metal. Probot is crushing. And yes, Probot is old school. It's everything that diehards probably thought it wouldn't be. It doesn't matter if you never liked Shitvana or the Shit Fighters or the Queens of the Shit Age, because Probot isn't like anything that Grohl's already done. Unlike his other musical projects, this album isn't for everyone. It's just for you. It's malt liquor, it's sweat and b.o., it's dive bars, it's your slutty mother going down on boozed up rock stars, it's pure filth. And it's all in good fun. You like fun, don't you?

Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 9 Page 2