Clutch – From Beale Street to Oblivion Review
by billy. d gamble
In 1990 a band emerged from Germantown, Maryland called Clutch. At the time they were your considerable hardcore punk but since their start over 15 years ago, Clutch's sound have evolved into one that is wholly unique to the world of heavy metal. In the early 2000s the band experimented by combining standard Muddy Waters-ish blues influences with heavy metal In 2005 they truly committed to their funk roots on Robot Hive/Exodus with the addition of a series of funky gospel organs that gave the album the effect Clutch had been looking for. The CD From Beale Street to Oblivion combines that committed blues sound of Robot Hive/Exodus with the funky metal on Blast Tyrant.
The album has many twists-and-turns, unexpected chord progressions, and of course every word Neil Fallon (vox/harmonica/guitar) sounds holy. Fallon could be counting and it would sound holy (oh wait he did!). Tim Sult (guitar) is constantly mixing up the sound on the album. The first few songs sound straight out of Blast Tyrant, especially "You Can't Stop the Progress" and "Power Player". But eventually the blues burns through the record and it sounds like Clutch is trying to cover Muddy Waters. The guitar solos displayed on the album are moderately simple when listened to closely, but Sult puts so many wah-wah, electronic, and distortion effects on them it is hard to tell. "The Devil & Me" sounds like "The Incomparable Mr. Flannery" off of Robot Hive, but the production is far superior and extremely epic unlike anything Clutch has done before. Mike Schaver (organ/electric piano) is very technical in everything he does. Schaver's playing always seems to set the mood for the song being played. In "White's Ferry" Schaver opens with a spooky sound that's funky yet fun. The song sounds like a slower Black Sabbath during their Sabbath Bloody Sabbath days combined with the blues and a spacey electrical solo that has a sound right from the 80's pop era. Dan Maines' bass lines throughout the album are constantly dominant and distinguished in the mix. On "Child of the City" the bass dominates with the organ to create a song that sounds like Helmet combined with the standard and signature Clutch sound.
The only real complain about the album is that a few songs sound too similar to the standard funky Clutch sound heard on Blast Tyrant and Robot Hive/Exodus. "Mr. Shiny Cadillackness" sounds exactly like "The Land of Pleasant Living", the only major difference is the Neil Fallon is going berserk preaching and on "One Eye Dollar" it sounds like Robot Hive's "Mice and Gods" but with a very classic Alice Cooper feel. Clutch has gone and done it again combining the blues and metal to make a great album.
1. You Can't Stop the Progress
2. Power Player
3. The Devil & Me
4. White's Ferry
5. Electric Worry
6. One Eye Dollar
7. Child of the City
8. Rapture of Riddley Walker
9. When Vegans Attack
10. Opossum Minister
11. Black Umbrella
12. Mr. Shiny Cadillackness
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Clutch – From Beale Street to Oblivion
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