I don’t understand the popular sentiment among Clutch fans that this album isn’t up to par with the rest of their material. This is one of, if not their very best, album to date. For my money, Blast Tyrant is still their absolute best and one of the top rock albums ever made, but Elephant Riders is very close. Every song is outstanding and Clutch take some gambles here that really pay off. It is remarkable to see the transitions made in their first three releases, and the improvements they made to their sound in each. Elephant Riders, in my opinion, was the first Clutch album with cohesive song writing and really technical playing. With the Soapmakers, you have one of the greatest Clutch songs ever, featuring a totally different country rock feel, with a new style from Neil, and some outstanding riffs and lyrics. The brass accompaniment on the instrumental Crackerjack is really outstanding, while Clutch returns to some full on heavy metal with Dragonfly – hearkening back to their Transatlantic Speedway days but totally exceeding anything on that record.
I just don’t understand why this album isn’t seen as one of the greatest in Clutch’s catalog because for my money it certainly deserves to be recognized as such.