CLUTCH
"Pitchfork and Lost Needles"

(Megaforce)

01. Wicker
02. Arcadia
03. Juggernaut
04. Far Country
05. Nero's Fiddle
06. Passive Restraints (demo)
07. Bacchanal (demo)
08. Milk of Human Kindness (demo)
09. What Would a Wookie Do?
10. Bottoms Up, Socrates

RATING: 7/10

With everyone appropriately ga-ga over the last couple CLUTCH albums, it's easy to forget that the shaggy, tinfoil-hat-wearing stoner rock artisans used to be a pretty abrasive, heavy, and goddamn mean sounding band. There's a vocal minority out there who think the band peaked right out of the starting gate with their vicious "Passive Restraints" EP (on Earache, no less!) and proceeded to get all goofy and beard-y from there.

Me, I like all eras (though I stand by my claim that a lot of those mid-period records were pretty soggy in places). So I dig where they are now, yet I'm happy as hell to delve into this odds 'n sods collection. The centerpiece is the four songs of "Pitchfork", the band's debut seven-inch, but also included to flesh it out to album length are unreleased tracks (the squalling New York angst of "Nero's Fiddle"), demo cuts that became the "Passive Restraints" songs, and — should the contrast between old and new CLUTCH not have been readily apparent, two new songs recorded this March. The old stuff is angular and harsh, Neil Fallon's vocals sounding hoarse as a cigarette cough, angry minimalist rhythms clanking along purposefully like prime early HELMET, only with more mosh-friendly primal throb.

Evolution is a funny thing — these gritty, feral songs show a young, dirt-mouthed band of wild-eyed gutter merchants that could have just as easily evolved into another UNSANE or TOOL — indeed, either of those paths would have made more sense than the one they ultimately took. "Pitchfork and Lost Needles" is an essential piece of the CLUTCH canon, and one well worth picking up, for those occasions when their new records just aren't abrasive enough — you know, all-night meth binges, broken-bottle bar fights at last call, that sort of thing.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).