Review by Mark Montgomery for MPM
It is said that there are 3 constants in life; Change, Choice and Principles (4 if you include Keith Richards).
If there is a band that perfectly illustrates the above, then Clutch is it.
Everyone is aware of Clutch. My personal discovery of the band was the inclusion on the MTV show Viva La Bam around 2005, which encouraged me to look at their back catalogue. Some searching led me to own a copy (probably a bootleg. Soz) of their 1st LP- Transnational Speedway League on East West Records.
Pleasantly surprised at the more Punk infused early tracks. I was subsequently made aware of the first constant;
Bands come and go. To be a constant, a band needs to evolve. Following a bands career album by album will certainly illustrate how a band moves through time and space.
The bands that standout are those that evolve. Fans of Clutch may not notice the evolution, as the tastes of the listener are also part of that same process. World events, politics, age, current affairs are all contributing factors of the messages in the music, not just lyrically, but sonically.
The composition and arrangement of music is also under constant subtle change, but without straying too far from what the fandom loves. Clutch are such a welcome constant, because they don’t ever go stale. Being able to achieve this comes down to the second constant;
Songs of Much Gravity certainly gives the listener a wide choice of what to listen to.
This compilation album covers the band’s releases between 1993 and 2001 (which leads one to speculate that a volume II could follow….?)
Covered in this compilation are the albums;
Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes And Undeniable Truths (1993)
As briefly mentioned above, this is a great insight into the bands roots, influences from Hardcore and Punk are in abundance. The stand out tracks include A Shogun Named Marcus.
A track that introduces you to the Stoner Rock tag that Clutch seem to have attached to them. (Stoner Rock is just Post Hardcore in sheeps clothing). A less than 3 minute track that will set out the tongue in cheek style lyrics that will be another constant for Clutch. This album also shows us what’s to come in the late 1990’s as it is part of the bigger picture when it comes to the entire evolution of Metal.
Clearly influenced by the mid 1990’s thirst of 1970’s Classic hard rock, this album showcases the musical ingenuity of the band. Many Clutch fans consider this sophomore album their best, and it did receive a lot of mainstream support in airplay. Fallons vocals echo Captain Beefheart in more than one track, most notably on the six and a half minute masterpiece Spacegrass,
This track could be 12 minutes long, it is such a great jam. There are some great riffs on this album, but what stands out most is the groove. The bass is wonderful, Maines really makes his mark as a great rock Bassist here partnered with Gaster on drums who is a versatile musician blending Blues and Metal as the backbone.
Each track is different, every song will stand alone, and this is “all killer, no filler”. This is, for sure, a Classic album.
Pure Rock Fury (2001)
After being forced to tour with Limp Bizkit, the band wrote this Album. Now clearly part of popular culture (2 tracks from this album feature on video games, Immortal in Hitman: Contracts and title track Pure Rock Fury in MotorStorm: Pacific Rift), Clutch take a retrospective view of the industry they are part of.
Careful with That Mic… was a minor hit, an undoubtable swipe at Fred Durst with some very impressive rhymes. Do not let the words “Rap Metal Parody” push you away, it’s a very good song indeed.
The title track, Pure Rock Fury, is probably the stand out track on the entire compilation, featuring some outstanding guitar work from Sult, and capturing the energy of Clutch’s live performances.
The tracks are once again pun heavy. And at this point in their career, people were asking “What genre are Clutch?’’. Do we need to pigeon hole them? No. Clutch knows exactly who they are, and that’s all that matters, no tag will change that.
Songs Of Much Gravity: Singles, B-Sides, Remixes & Non-Album Tracks (1995-2001)
Here are the choice cuts, there are some more chilled experiences to be had here, 7 tracks that, if you are not a super fan, you would have probably never heard.
Much like Tool and Queens of The Stone Age, Clutch are able to create grooves that can go on forever without feeling strained.
At over 7 minutes long, the previously unreleased Apache is a slow moving animal, but one that never tires. The final track is an extended version of Frankenstien (From Pure Rock Fury), a fitting exclamation mark to the compilation, a showcase of the band’s genius, musicianship, lyrics, and storytelling.