Probot – S/T


Almost every music fan dreams of putting together their version of a “super group.” You know – pick your favorite singer, guitarist, bassist, and drummer or any combination there of and imagine what it would be like if they made music together. Dave Grohl took this idea and ran with it, because I imagine at his level of superstardom you can do just about whatever you want. Fortunately for Dave, his twist on the super group scheme is one of the most superb to come together in a long time.
The basic premise here is quite simple. Dave Grohl decided to write a bunch of tunes in the style of some of his favorite hard rock and metal bands from the 80s and then got the singers from the original groups to pen lyrics and record their vocals. Although I’ve heard some complaints that each song sounds as though it could have come straight from each band’s catalog from 20 years ago let’s be clear that this is exactly the point! Dave Grohl isn’t attempting to do anything new here; he simply tried to directly copy the styles of the bands he grew up listening to and share the results with all the other metal fans who wish they could do the same thing. On this front, Probot is an amazing album, but one aimed at other fans of this era of metal and hard rock. If you didn’t like any of the bands featured here back in the day, you aren’t much more likely to dig Probot.
On each of the 11 tracks on Probot (plus one hidden bonus song), Dave Grohl plays all of the instruments with only a few exceptions. A few of the singers also play their instruments, and Dave also called in the help of a few others here and there including Kim Thayil of Soundgarden fame, who lends additional guitar on two tracks. It’s easy to pick out favorites on Probot based on what you used to listen to in the 80s. Listening for the first time two tracks stood out based on this – Wino (Obsessed, St. Vitus, Place of Skulls) and his addition “The Emerald Law” became a favorite right off the bat because I still see Wino perform as often as possible with his current band The Hidden Hand. Right on his heels is Lemmy (Motorhead) and his number “Shake Your Blood,” which definitely sounds straight off of 1980’s The Ace of Spades. Both Lemmy and Wino play their respective instruments on their track as well as sing.
After repeated listens I found myself drawn toward some of the tracks representing bands I wasn’t as fond of in the 80s including “Access Babylon” – the album’s dip into hardcore territory with Corrossion of Conformity’s Mike Dean – and “Ice Cold Man” featuring Lee Dorrian (Cathedral, Napalm Death) who also owns Rise Above Records. I also really enjoy “Red War” with Max Cavalera of Sepultura/Soulfly because Dave Grohl’s drumming here is particularly excellent. Other tracks featuring Cronos (Venom), Kurt Brecht (D.R.I.), Tom G. Warrior (Celtic Frost), Snake (Voivod), Eric Wagner (Trouble), and King Diamond (Mercyful Fate) are equally as good, but I do believe you will be most interested by your favorites – unless of course you were a fan of all of these bands.
Dave Grohl took a huge chance putting Probot together, from finding and convincing each of these legends to contribute to getting record label backing for its release, but the four years since fans started getting wind of this project have been well worth it. Most people do not associate Grohl with metal, but this album is proof that his talent extends far beyond grunge and pop-rock and that he can write and play songs in just about any style. Probot is what all-star albums should be all about!