Clutch Blast Tyrant
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02. Profits Of Doom
03. The Mob Goes Wild
04. Cypress Grove
05. Promoter (Of Earthbound Causes)
06. The Regulator
07. Worm Drink
08. Army Of Bono
09. Spleen Merchant
10. (In The Wake Of) The Swollen Goat
12. Subtle Hustle
14. (Notes From The Trial Of) La Curandera
Clutch have been around long enough now that people are starting to throw out phrases like "their classic first album" and "an institution in the scene."These kinds of descriptions have always seemed to me more appropriate of a band well past its prime, churning out the same old shit or floundering to remain "important," all while still grabbing at commercial success (see Metallica for more information).It's important to remember that, despite existing for nearly twelve years, in which they've released seven studio albums and played an awe-inspiring number of shows (well in excess of 1500), they're still a relatively young, vital band. Little more proof is needed than Blast Tyrant, which even by Clutch's high standards is a beast of an album.
Pure Rock Fury, Clutch's 2001 long-player, was by no means a bad album, but it seemed to suffer slightly from a lack of focus. Blast Tyrant stands in stark contrast to that album, in everything from the production to the lyrical content. A rock epic and a concept album that suffers from none of the prog-rock pretension associated with the term, Blast Tyrant tells the vague and bizarre story of the titular demonic pirate, his ship "The Swollen Goat," and "La Curandera," the young girl who loves him.Along the way, there are stories of the Four Horsemen of Capitalism ("Profits of Doom"), a country town run entirely by a murderous crew of beautiful women ("Cypress Grove"), death ("The Regulator") and resurrection ("Ghost"), and good old fashioned lovin' ("Subtle Hustle").Don't let the bizarre subject matter throw you, however. It's still a Clutch album, and it's still brimming with fiery boogie and muscular, sinewy grooves. In fact, more than any of their other albums, Blast Tyrant sounds full of sweat, blood, power and pure sexy swagger.
Neil Fallon's vocals have been growing deeper and decidedly more confident in the years since Transnational Speedway League, and as with everything else about Blast Tyrant, he's truly hit his stride here. He sings in a richly expressive baritone that perfectly compliments the thick, funky riffs laid down by the band; there is a presence to his voice that rules over the groove without overshadowing it. Indeed, Fallon seems to ride the groove rather than drive it; on "Subtle Hustle," one of the more fast-paced numbers, Fallon's vocals reach a fever pitch while Jean-Paul Gaster hits the skins in a dizzying, shuffling rhythm so propulsive it's easy to imagine the song being birthed full-grown, spitting and cursing, a cigarette dangling from its lips and a beer clutched in both hands.
Bottom Line: There's no question that Clutch have etched themselves a name in the pantheon of great rock bands, but until now they'd played their hand close, writing a handful of great songs and a mountain of good ones. With Blast Tyrant, they've produced a record that flexes all their muscles and shows off all their strengths. For everyone who loved "Spacegrass" and "The Elephant Riders" but never really gave Clutch a fair chance, or worse, simply wrote them off as juiced-up redneck metal, this is the record that'll change your mind. Turn it up and get to shaking your ass. It's a hell of a story and a hell of a ride; more than that, it's a fucking blast.
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