Yet another quality effort from Clutch, my favorite band. I have been eagerly anticipating this one for months now, ever since hearing they were in the studio back in the Spring. And, true to form, the guys release an album that I will be listening to non-stop for the next few months.
It is, as another reviewer said, a logical progression for Clutch. It is an album that has been building ever since “Regulator” and “Ghost” off of Blast Tyrant. One that is more bluesy, less hardcore and more restrained. While still as rocking as ever, this recent effort reminds me of a Corvette in the city, it occasionally revs it up but never really lets loose. What I mean by that is there are no songs like “Burning Beard” (“Swan diving off the tongues of crippled giants!”) or “Opossum Minister” (“Prathertown unincorporated, may you stay far unrelated!”) where Neil and the guys just open things up and let it rip.
That is not really a criticism, just an observation, having a Vette is sweet wherever you drive it right?
The only thing to me that was slightly disappointing was that this was the first album since Jam Room that I did not feel was better or as good as the last. While I still like this album a lot, I do not think it is on par with Blast Tyrant, Robot Hive or Beale Street. To be fair though, dropping those three albums in a row is hard to top.
There is a lot to love on this album. Tracks like “Struck Down” “Abraham Lincoln” and “Minotaur” are just awesome. I really do not think there is a bad song on the album, though I do wish they had included an instrumental to round it out to an even 12 tracks. Long time Clutch fans will recognize some of Neil’s favorite motifs: Classical Myth (“Minotaur”), The Civil War Era (“Abraham Lincoln”) and Jackbooted Government Thugs (“50,000 Unstoppable Watts”).
I would really say that where this one stands out is in the packaging. I love the jigsaw cover, the fantasy map it forms, all the artwork included and the “Abraham Shiva” foldout poster is really sweet.
In all another fine effort from Clutch, even if it is not their strongest showing, it is still better than anything else you will listen to this year. Can’t wait to see them at ACL Fest in October!
4.5 out of 5 stars