Clutch – Robot Hive/Exodus Review

Originally written by Patrick Dawson

If socks are a commodity that can be rocked, let it be known Clutch has the whole top drawer on its feet. At this point in the game the band’s sound is equal parts stoner and southern rock, but as they are prone to doing, there is a new twist this time around that keeps the record fresh and exciting. Previously only a trace element hinted at by the lackadaisical organ tone which brought the last effort to a somewhat uncomfortable close, there is spirit on board this release. Robot Hive: Exodus has come to drag you from your trailer home in a fiery conflagration of Baptist glory. Satirical fervor and swing is the name of the game.

As the bass driven tunes bounce pickup style over an old dirt road somewhere in Georgia, it becomes apparent rather quickly that Clutch finally settled on one sound to focus on for an album’s duration. That sound is raucous, funky, and streamlined to get them heathens to church on time with their toes tapping all the way. When fantastic cover songs like Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Gravel Road” and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking” fit seamlessly into an album’s layout, how does one not get up out of their seat and move?

Every strength this band has developed over their long career is accentuated on this album. The same potent rhythm section you have heard before is now held together by the prominent new addition of Mick Schauer’s sermon leading Hammond organ. Tim Sult and human metronome Jean-Paul play off the keys in every song and manage to push their blues flavored riffs damn close to perfection both in execution and low-heavy tone. For those wondering; Neil Fallon’s cerebral and whiskey-throated crooning is still in itself reason enough to warrant album ownership.

Bugger dumb the last of academe.
Occam’s razor makes the cutting clean.
Shaven like a banker, lilac vegetal.
Break the glass ceiling and golden parachute on down.
The power of the Holy Ghost comes to town.

Odd that such a magnificently non-metal album, thus far, stands the greatest chance of topping my year end list for 2005 but the boogie down, delta blues, cast-iron hymnals contained within this package have done something that no leather n’ spiked bunch of distorted weirdo’s could. Remember kids; even the mole people need religion.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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