Guitars scream in lightning riffs and a deep voice chants into the microphone when it’s not screaming itself. Clutch seems at first glance to be the kind of typical heavy-metal, speed-metal group that Beavis and Butthead would rock out to. There is more to them than that, however, if not necessarily a whole lot more.
The sound of Clutch’s newest album is that of 1970s hard-rockers such as Black Sabbath, while lead singer Neil Fallon’s voice has been compared to that of Frank Zappa. Other influences permeate the album along with the clear influences from the ’70s.
Clutch defies simple classification as metal by incorporating blues licks and funk beats by drummer Jean Paul Gaster. These different elements are not dominant, however. The band incorporates them into their heavy-metal repertoire and manipulates these various influences to achieve a surprisingly subtle effect, if anything on such a loud, hard album can be called subtle.
“Pure Rock Fury” transcends much of stereotypical heavy metal through its lyrical content and its stylistic blending. Many of Fallon’s lyrics might as well be sung in another language for all the sense they make. He combines numerous subjects and allusions in every song into something that often seems to be nonsense.
A typical line from one of the tracks, “Red Horse Rainbow,” goes, “Pan-Amoebic algebra breed bizarre bacteria what to do? Oh what to do? Africanized killer bees, alabaster deities, milk from spoons, sip milk from spoons, within the ruins against the firth the salamander has given birth.”
And yes, all of the songs are like this. Fallon has said in interviews that he would rather sing about things he doesn’t know about than talk about his feelings. This is quite apparent throughout the CD. At least he isn’t telling young boys to commit suicide. His confusion tactics aren’t going to hurt anyone.
“Pure Rock Fury” isn’t for the faint-of-heart. Neither is it for anyone looking for a typical speed metal album. It has an eclectic mix of styles and even sounds like the Chili Peppers at some points. At the same time, it is not strikingly original or even palatable in most situations unless you are trying to get psyched up for some kind of full-combat sport. People that like heavy metal will like this album for its variety of sounds. Others who don’t might like it for a change of pace. But if you’re not a metal-head, you’re just as likely to hate it