June 25, 2021

Collected together for the first time, Manipulations Of The Mind – The Complete Collection, assembles the entire solo works of founding Black Sabbath bassist and lyricist Geezer Butler across four CDs, available via BMG this coming July 30th. Also available on the same date is The Very Best Of Geezer Butler, a standalone CD that cherry-picks seventeen choice cuts from the boxset by Geezer himself.

Featuring the albums Plastic Planet (1995), Black Science (1997), and Ohmwork (2005), with a bonus 4th disc of rare and largely unreleased material, Manipulations Of The Mind shines the spotlight on a creative force who, as chief master of the heavy metal originators’ heavyweight bottom-end and the lyrics that gave voice to the monolithic riffs, didn’t rest on his laurels and created three solo albums of forward-thinking new music throughout those years. 

The 4th bonus disc is a treasure trove of unreleased demos, studio outtakes, single edits and three live tracks captured at the Majestic Theatre, Detroit, MI, February 1996, alongside the song ‘Beach Skeleton’, only previously heard on the Japanese edition of Black Science.

Geezer Butler (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)

Plastic Planet was originally released under the name g/z/r and featured Burton C. Bell of Californian industrial/groove metal pioneers Fear Factory on vocals, and is considered a classic of 90s metal. The album perfectly melded Geezer’s roots in doomy blues rock to the industrial influenced metal sound that was a key element in pushing the genre forward in the nineties by bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Ministry and of course, Fear Factory. “I was listening to Fear Factory at the time and liked what Burton was doing – heavy vocals but with melodic choruses when required,” says Geezer. “So, I asked him if he’d be interested in singing on the album, and he agreed. Importantly, he was great to work with, and had a similar sense of humour to Pedro and me. And didn’t sound anything like Ozzy or Ronnie Dio, which was important to me.”

Alongside Bell for this recording was a long-time collaborator of Geezer’s, Peter Howse (nicknamed ‘Pedro’ by Butler, from a character in the TV show Four Feather Falls), Howse was a founding member of the Geezer Butler Band in 1985 and has written and played in all versions of GZR/Geezer. Drums were handled by Deen Castronovo, providing the pounding rhythms that propel the heavy grooves and mechanical metallic edge on ‘Plastic Planet’. Lyrically, Butler channelled technological, sci-fi and dystopian subjects mixed with the social issues tackled on ‘Drive Boy, Shooting’ and ‘The Invisible’; themes that perfectly matched the then futuristic sounds within.

Returning in 1997 with Black Science and originally released this time under the name Geezer, this album saw Butler once again working with drummer Deen Castronovo and guitarist Pedro Howse, and like Plastic Planet, was produced by Butler and Paul Northfield (Rush, Alice Cooper, Suicidal Tendencies, Dream Theater etc). Bell was unable to provide vocals this time due to commitments with Fear Factory, but his industrial boots were more than adequately filled by the then completely unknown Clark Brown who stepped up to the plate and delivered an impressively powerful vocal performance over the album’s heavy power grooves, and it was very well received by media and fans alike. “I wasn’t looking for plaudits,” he says today. “I doubt that many people got any of the lyrical references, and as before, it was just music I enjoyed making. Again, it was a great fun time, writing about personal things, and doing music I loved making with Pedro and Clark in a relaxed atmosphere, without any pressure. Much fun was had.”

It wouldn’t be until 2005 that Geezer would get the chance to continue his solo explorations, having returned to Sabbath for the 1997 edition of Ozzfest, remaining in the band ever since, but in 2005 he released Ohmwork, this time under the name GZR. Once again, the recording was undertaken with Clark Brown on vocals and Pedro Howse on guitar, the difference this time being that drum duties were handled by Chad E Smith (the veteran St. Louis drummer, not the Red Hot Chili Peppers percussionist of the same name).

With Ohmwork, gone were the industrial metal influences of the previous decade, but Butler still steadfastly refused to hark back to the past and kept everything contemporary, drawing on influences, as a keen follower of music, on everything that was happening in rock at the time. From the pedal to the metal of ‘Aural Sects’ to the epic, neo-psychedelia of ‘I Believe’, Ohmwork was a fitting finale to Geezer’s solo album trilogy.


Manipulations Of The Mind – The Complete Collection track-listing:

CD1 – PLASTIC PLANET (feat. Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory on vocals)
1. Catatonic Eclipse
2. Drive Boy, Shooting
3. Giving Up The Ghost
4. Plastic Planet
5. The Invisible
6. Séance Fiction
7. House Of Clouds
8. Detective 27
9. X13
10. Sci-Clone
11. Cycle Of Sixty

1. Man In A Suitcase
2. Box Of Six
3. Mysterons
4. Justified
5. Department S
6. Area Code 51
7. Has To Be
8. Number 5
9. Among The Cybermen
10. Unspeakable Elvis
11. Xodiak
12. Northern Wisdom
13. Trinity Road

1. Misfit
2. Pardon My Depression
3. Prisoner 103
4. I Believe
5. Aural Sects
6. Pseudocide
7. Pull The String
8. Alone
9. Dogs Of Whore
10. Don’t You Know

1. Pseudocide (No Intro)
2. Prisoner 103 (Demo)
3. The Invisible (Instrumental)
4. Area Code 51 (Demo)
5. Cycle Of Sixty (Radio Mix)
6. X13 (Radio Mix)
7. Northern Wisdom (Demo)
8. Beach Skeleton (Japanese Version)
9. Pardon My Depression (Alt Take)
10. Misfit (Rough Mix)
11. I Believe (Demo)
12. Four Feathers Fall (Demo)
13. Drive Boy, Shooting (Live)
14. Detective 27 (Live)
15. House Of Clouds (Live)

The Very Best Of Geezer Butler track-listing:
1. Drive Boy, Shooting
2. Man In A Suitcase
3. Misfit
4. The Invisible
5. Box Of Six
6. Pardon My Depression
7. House Of Cards
8. Mysterons
9. Aural Sects
10. Detective 27
11. Number 5
12. I Believe
13. Catatonic Eclipse
14. Among The Cybermen
15. Prisoner 103
16. Plastic Planet
17. Area Code 51