Monday, August 15, 2005

Music Review: Clutch - Robot Hive / Exodus

For the first time ever, I am ambivalent towards an entire album of material, and even more shockingly, it's from my all-time favorite band ever, the power-quartet (sometimes quintet) of hard rock from Washington DC, Clutch. Neil himself proclaimed it to be "louder and wierder than our last album", and he is referring to Blast Tyrant there (scroll down to see my Blast Tyrant review). While it is most definitely wierder, only two and a half songs even come close to being louder than any of the fare on Blast Tyrant, and even Blast Tyrant wasnt half as loud as the previous record to that, the aptly named Pure Rock Fury.

Many of the songs on the new album feature what we've come to expect from Clutch, which is sharp drumming, peculiarly multi-layered guitar work, seemingly random key and timing changes, and Neil's impeccably-voiced bizarre lyrical ramblings. However, the middle half of the album can only be described as "mellow". For Christ's sake, my Dad likes a couple of the songs off this album. Thats just not right.

Even so, Clutch has continued to evolve, and I can never fault a band for that (except St Anger). Burning Beard is a monster of a song, and the video of Neil berating the masses (of robots) over a Church pulpit in a business suit gives it a whole new feel. The purposefully strangely titled middle track, "10001110101" makes very little sense, and if you're wondering, it's some order of ASCII for the question mark character. Mice and Gods rants about technology, and mankinds downfall, while "Gravel Road" is rock-country song about lost love. It hardly seems like the Clutch that came out with "Come On, Motherfucker" or "Pile Driver" or even "I Have The Body Of John Wilkes Boothe", but for your mellower, nostalgic forays into hard music, Clutch has the answer. It's Robot Hive.

8.2 out of 10.


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