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Pure Rock Fury - Truth in Advertising
on April 27, 2001
Pure Rock Fury is Clutch's most straight ahead onslaught of a release since 1991's Pitchfork or 1992's Passive Restraints. It truly is furious, not to mention being pure rock. The first noise you hear is a long screech, quickly evolving into a barrage of guitar, bass, and drums the likes of which have previously not been heard on any Clutch album. "American Sleep" truly is a great opener for the album, and it's an indication of the fury and genius to come.
First, I'd like to address something an earlier reviewer said about the mixing. Yes, it is true that they were going for a "fuzzier" sound on this album, but the static and popping that you hear is not an error in the production or mixing; in order to optimal audio performance from this album, you should set your equalizer to "flat," or somewhere close to it. There should be no more fuzziness than was intended.
Anyway, as for the actual album: It is a masterpiece. Clutch has never made a bad album; in fact, Clutch has never made an album that would receive less than four stars, in my book. Still, the argument can be made that this is their best yet (although I would be hard-pressed to dub any one of them definitively "the best"). As I said, it is their most straight up rock album in a long time (perhaps ever), and it just flat out rocks.
There are no bad songs here. Some rock in different ways. For instance, "American Sleep" and "Pure Rock Fury" are balls to the wall rock songs, whereas "Open up the Border" and "Drink to the Dead" are slower-paced, groove-oriented jams. Then there are songs like "Brazenhead" and "Red Horse Rainbow," two of my favorite songs on the record, which are jams of epic proportions, hearkening back to the days when bands could rock out for more than two minutes. "Brazenhead" and "Red Horse Rainbow" are also very complex musically, and the former may well be the best song Clutch has ever recorded.
There is also the inclusion of a live rendition of one of Clutch's most popular songs, "Spacegrass." This is a particularly rocking version of "Spacegrass," rocking quite a bit more than the album version on the eponymous release. The CD also has a HyperCD feature which allows you to access a live video of the song when you put it into your computer's CD-ROM drive.
All in all, this is a terrific rock album, one of the best in a long while. Then again, all of Clutch's albums are terrific, because unlike the bands that receive the must play on MTV and the radio, they are great musicians who care about putting out innovative and enjoyable material. If you are a fan of Clutch already, a fan of groups like Fu Manchu, Kyuss, Nebula, Karma to Burn, or just a fan of rock music who is tired of "nu-metal" and the like who yearns for the days when there was real rock everywhere, then this is definitely an album you should pick up. You definitely will not regret it.