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Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler announces 'best of' album and assembles massive 4CD box set of his solo works

Geezer Butler
(Image credit: Chiaki Nozu/FilmMagic)

The greatest metal lyricist of all time and Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has raided the archives for a comprehensive box set of his solo material and best of compilation.

Manipulations Of The Mind – The Complete Collection, gathers Butler's three solo albums – Plastic Planet (1995), Black Science (1997) and Ohmwork (2005) – plus a host of unreleased and rare material for a whopping four-disc box set. The release will be accompanied by a compilation of his solo work, The Very Best of Geezer Butler, which features 17 tracks handpicked by the man himself.

Those tuning in and expecting a facsimile of the primal doom sound that Butler pioneered with Black Sabbath might be in for a shock. There are more than a few stylistic left turns in the Butler solo career. Inspired by Fear Factory and featuring Burton C Bell on vocals, Plastic Planet has a pronounced industrial metal groove that calls to mind those Consolidated remixes of Corrosion of Conformity's Vote With a Bullet. 

Of course, Butler was ever metal's renaissance man when it came to lyrics and so you had the propulsive chug of Drive Boy, Shooting referencing Alfred Lord Tennyson, with guitarist Pedro Howse an able foil for Butler's low-end thunder.

“I was listening to Fear Factory at the time and liked what Burton was doing – heavy vocals but with melodic choruses when required,” says Butler.

“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 humor to Pedro and me. And didn’t sound anything like Ozzy or Ronnie Dio, which was important to me.”

Recorded in Canada at Studio Morin Heights, 1997's Black Science saw Clark Brown take Burton C Bell's place on lead vocals, but still the vibe is drawn from the liminal space between industrial rock and metal, and just two years before The Matrix became the pop-cultural moment of the late-'90s, this felt very much of the time. 

Manipulations of the Mind – Geezer Butler

(Image credit: BMG)

That said, it was another decade's sci-fi that was inspiring Butler on Black Science, namely '60s television serials such as Doctor Who. Soon after the album's release, however, Black Sabbath had got back together, with the Ozzfest soon in full stem across the States and then globally. It wasn't until 2005 that Butler could return to the studio to track his third and final solo album, Ohmwork

While the influence of those years spent touring alongside Slipknot, Pantera et al can be heard throughout Ohmwork – particularly on tracks such as Pseudocide and Aurel Sects – it still feels very much part of an industrial trilogy, and a world apart from the morbid blues-rock of early Sabbath.

Both the Very Best of... and Manipulations Of The Mind box-set will be released on July 1 through BMG. See Geezer Butler for more details. The full tracklisting for The Very Best of Geezer Butler is at the bottom of the page.

The Very Best of Geezer Butler tracklist:

  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
Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.