Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Music Review: Clutch - Blast Tyrant

Fans of Clutch are often amazed at the vastly different sounds the band has. Listen to "Soapmakers", a happy hard-rockin nonsensical tune. Then listen to "Pile Driver", an incredibly crunchy, noisy and angst-inducing song that makes you wonder if it sounds musical purely by coincidence. Then listen to "Spacegrass", a huge rambling, bass-rumbling heavy-metal opus meant to be listened to in a convertible. Then listen to any of their blues-heavy songs such as Big News, or utterly random drug-based songs like "Willie Nelson". Listen to these, and try to imagine it's the same band, with the same skinny lead singer.

Blast Tyrant is their latest studio release, and some will notice the obvious similarities between it and the Black Album. Both Clutch and Metallica went from rough, fast studio recordings to extremely slick, well-produced studio-centered albums. Unlike the Black Album, Clutch pulls it off without sounding too pretentious. It is still undeniably them, with thundering riffs by Tim Sult (who still gets to layer 2, 3 or 4 guitar lines at a time, some of them either recorded backwards, ot recorded backwards and then put to music backwards yet again) and the skillful drumming of Jean-Paul, although bass player Maines is tragically underused, his unique leading style present in only a handful of songs (coincidentally, the best ones).

No longer "stoner rock" or "noise rock", Clutch has an album to appeal to those with more mainstream tastes, while satisfying everyone who still think of them as "the best damn band no-ones heard of but me."


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