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Robot Hive: Exodus

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Clutch continues its seemingly endless string of awesome albums with the flawless Robot Hive/Exodus. Opening with deep-fried ”The Incomparable Mr. Flannery” and closing with a Tom Waits-esqe cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s ”Who’s Been Talking?,” Robot clearly demonstrates, once again, Clutch’s remarkable musical diversity. Clutch’s solid, trademark grooves have as much in common with Gov’t Mule as they do with Black Sabbath and Grand Funk Railroad, and their ability to ooze instant classics such as the thunderous ”Burning Beard” and the highly danceable ”Gullah” is uncanny. Throughout, vocalist/guitarist Neil Fallon sings with a whisky-throated swagger that calls to mind the raw power of AC/DC’s Bon Scott tempered with the R&B inflections of Grand Funk’s Mark Farner. This blend is particularly evident on the foot-stomping ”Never Be Moved.” Neil might be the one hard rock vocalist capable of maneuvering with the ill ease of a hip-hop MC, crafting lyrics that are humorous and wise–one of the many gifts that help place Clutch in a class of its own, and a large part of what makes Robot Hive/Exodus a contemporary classic. –Jedd Beaudoin Recommended Clutch Discography Clutch Jam Room Pure Rock Fury

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  • Yet another Clutch album. Yet another masterpiece. Talk about groove. Talk about blues. Talk about rock. Damn. Clutch seem to go unnoticed, even in today’s music scene, and it’s simply unfair judging by how much talent is in this great band. Fans of this band will know that a Clutch album is always a must-have, and this is no exception. How they keep making such quality material after so long and with very little or no mainstream success, is beyond me..though very popular as a cult-band, they’re hardly heard on the radio or played/talked about on MTV. (And that’s the way the band wants to keep it, it seems)

    This album kind of snuck up on me, as i only just recently heard about it’s release and so i went out to buy it about a week ago. I’m more than just impressed with everything about it, from the artwork and fold-out cover to the great guitar work on this album, not to mention the overall musicianship. Neil Fallon’s vocals don’t sound *as* harsh as on previous albums, at least to me, but they may have to do with the great production on this album. The trademark crazy rhymes/lyrics are still there though, delivered with the same style of old.

    My favorite songs for the moment are; “The Incomparable Mr. Flannery”, “Gullah”, “Mice and Gods”, “Never Be Moved”, “10001110101″, and the country-vibe of “Gravel Road”. There are alot of highlights on this album though, so one just has to listen to it as a whole and take it all in. There are also two instrumentals which are great. They are; “Small Upsetters” and “Tripping The Alarm”. The album closes with; “Who’s Been Talking?”, and it’s pretty much the most quiet track on this album. This album i think will grow on alot of people. That is to say, that it’ll take a little while to get into. For me, it took a few days for it all to come together. But once it does, you’ll be listening to it quite frequently.

    So here you have it.. Clutch. New Album. 14 songs. 55 minutes long. If you’re already a fan, it’s a no-brainer. For new fans, i’d even start with this. Maybe try the samples first and see what you think. This is, yet again, another really enjoyable album by Clutch. It’s definitely worth your time if you’re even slightly into Rock or Hard Rock/Blues.

    I’m already wondering how their next album will sound like..

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • These guys are probably the most underrated band around. This album is a little heavier than the last few but at the same time also more technical. The keyboards are very prominent now, and I think they bring that extra element to the sound. I highly recommend this album.

    One of the great things about Clutch is that they work harder than any other band I can thnk of. They seem to put out a new album every 18 months or so despite the fact that they are touring like 250 days a year. And they are all quality albums.

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • And that is saying a lot, believe me, as I pretty much regard Clutch’s 2004 effort, “Blast Tyrant” to be a rock’n roll masterpiece, not to mention one of my all-time favorite albums, and I know that a lot of Clutch’s fans feel the same way. When I first heard Robot Hive/Exodus, I was of the opinion that it was good, but not quite as good as their last release. Lately, however, this album has grown on me something fierce, and I felt compelled to write up a review to try and explain exactly why.

    Whereas Blast Tyrant feels more direct, “punchier” if you will, Robot Hive/Exodus feels more bluesy, even gospel-tinted, by comparison. The album flows very smoothly, partially because nearly all of the songs fade from one into the next, and in part due to the fact that they simply complement each other extremely well.

    Make no mistake, though. This is one hard rocking beast of an album, replete with Jean-Paul Gaster’s jazzy drumming, Dan Maines’ funky basslines, Tim Sult’s fuzzy guitarwork and Neil Fallon’s wonderfully weird lyrics and gravelly vocals. Indeed, Fallon displays his mastery of the microphone once more, and seems to be more comfortable with his role in the band than ever, as he slides effortlessly through the band’s grooves and guides the listener through gleefully absurd apocalyptic visions, robot revolutions (and revelations), and an increasingly surreal colosseum on the song “Circus Maximus” (“Every time I open my window, cranes fly in to terrorize me.”, “Tipping cows in fields Elysian”, “Celebrities and tentacles regard the beast with two backs.” and so on..). You’d be hard pressed to find a cooler doomsayer anywhere.

    And then there is the newcomer to the band, one Mick Schauer, whose understated keyboard and organ playing adds a whole new dimension to the band’s sound. It’s hard to picture the songs on this album working without Schauer’s contributions, which lend the whole album, as well as Clutch’s sound in general a new flavour and allows them explore new musical vistas. After listening to RH/E extensively, I’ve found myself sorely missing it when going back to their previous albums.

    The band seems more confident on this album than ever before, and therein lies part of its charm. The songwriting feels tighter here than it has on previous albums, and there is no shortage of sublime, groove-laced hard rock passages to be found here. The standout tracks for me, aside from the two opening tracks would have to be “Gullah”, “Pulaski Skyway”, “Never Be Moved” and “10,000 Witnesses”. I seem to be able to listen to these songs pretty much anytime, anywhere, and not get even remotely tired of them. But honestly there isn’t one track on this album that I would want to skip over (the two delta blues homages at the end of the album took the longest to grow on me, but grow on me they did), and that to me is the mark of a truly great album.

    Just about all of the songs included here are infectious to say the least. Even as someone who usually never feels inclined to sing along to anything, it is really hard to resist here. If you don’t have a silly grin on your face, or at least a small smile after spinning this disc, you are beyond all hope. To put it simply, Robot Hive/Exodus is every bit Blast Tyrant’s equal and, in my humble opinion, even better, as it will no doubt stay with you longer. If you like rock and roll in any way, shape or form, there simply is no excuse for not having it in your collection.

    And yes, it has cowbell on it.

    Posted on January 19, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • You’ve got to give Clutch credit. Despite being one of the most revered and underrated bands in the hard rock/metal genre, they continue to pump out excellent albums one after another, and “Robot Hive/Exodus” is no exception. Taking a step back with the more metal aspects of their sound and fusing an almost funk sound with blues and classic rock, Clutch’s diversity can be seen to full effect. The driving rhythms that fuel the opening “Incomparable Mr. Flannery”, “Burning Beard”, “Gullah”, and “Never Be Moved” are must listens, but the band really shows their stuff on “10001110101″ and “10,000 Witnesses”. The previously mentioned tracks are standouts, but make no mistake that there is not one track on this album that you’ll want to skip through. “Robot Hive/Exodus” is one of those few albums that come along every once in a while that will leave you in awe, and it’s a modern day Clutch masterpiece. It’s a perfect place to start for new fans, and it’s definitely one of, if not the, best albums of the year in ANY musical genre.

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • The always hard to categorize Clutch are becoming even more hard to categorize with each passing album. These guys are both hardworking and relentlessly creative. This disc is a little less metallic and more experimental than their last outing, the great Blast Tyrant. However, that old Clutch heaviness is still plentiful here, especially in the neckpain-inducing “Burning Beard” and the strangely angular “Circus Maximus.” The best aspect of Clutch’s approach is the jam-oriented interactions between the disarmingly funky basslines of Dan Maines and the off-kilter stoner-metal riffs of Tim Sult, built upon drummer Jean Paul Gaster’s driving and genre-jumping rhythms. Meanwhile, singer Neil Fallon sounds more and more like he’s drowning in oppressive political and religious demagoguery, and this describes both his cryptic lyrics and his riot-inciting vocals.

    The biggest development for Clutch here is the addition of fulltime keyboardist Mick Schauer, who has been fully integrated into the band’s sound, instead of just adding ornamentation. This has pushed Clutch further into an unmistakable classic rock and blues sound, evident in the surprisingly no-nonsense tunes “10001110101″ and “10,000 Witnesses.” There are even a few snippets of balladry here, like in the verses of “Land of Pleasant Living.” Most unexpectedly, the album ends with two reverential 12-bar blues workouts. The first is a lyrical cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Gravel Road” on top of slammin’ Clutch-created blooze mayhem; this is followed by a full cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking.” You might just think that Clutch is evolving into an older and wiser blues band (albeit a strange one), but I bet they’ll add a new element or three to their sound on the next album. [~doomsdayer520~]

    Posted on January 18, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now