Veteran rock band Clutch has been quite busy in recent months. The band recently released a new vinyl box set featuring all of the records that it has released under the Weathermaker Music label. Additionally, the band has released a handful of re-worked songs and covers. The release of those re-worked songs will culminate Friday with the release of Clutch’s new compilation record The Weathermaker Vault Series: Volume 1. Clutch started releasing the songs for its new 10-song compilation last year as exclusive digital-only tracks. Now audiences can finally have them together in one setting thanks to the band. What audiences must keep in mind in listening to this record is that it is actually the band’s fifth (yes, fifth) compilation record. That is in fact the most important aspect of this presentation and will be discussed shortly. Considering that much of the record’s content is re-worked versions of previously released Clutch songs alongside some covers, the record’s production clearly deserves its own attention, and will a little later. The 38-minute recording’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, they make the compilation a presentation that will appeal to Clutch’s established fan base, as well as newer audiences.
Clutch’s latest compilation record The Weathermaker Vault Series: Volume 1 is an interesting new collection from the veteran rock band. The band’s fifth compilation record (and second this year, following the release of Monsters, Machines, & Mythological Beasts), it stands out in part because of its track listing. The only songs featured in this compilation that are repeats are ‘Passive Restraints,’ which originally appeared as part of the band’s 2005 compilation Pitchfork & Lost Needles, and ‘Willie Nelson,’ which featured in the band’s debut compilation, 2003’s Slow Hole To China. Other than those two songs, what audiences get here is a largely new collection of re-worked songs and covers. In regards to the re-worked originals, it should be noted that this compilation takes audiences back to Clutch’s earliest days, in 1992 and its sophomore EP Passive Restraints. That record preceded the band’s debut album, Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes, & Undeniable Truths. It comes up as recently as he band’s 2014 7” split with Lionize, which itself is a rarity. The covers of songs from John Fogerty, ZZ Top, and Monster Magnet add even more variety to the presentation. What’s more, that the band’s most recent compilation was a presentation whose songs focused on songs that were about…well…the fantasy realm, and that this record largely avoids repeating previous songs from its past compilations makes for a solid foundation for its presentation. It is just one aspect of the compilation that makes it stand out. The production of the record’s featured songs builds on that foundation and makes the compilation that much more appealing.
The production of Clutch’s latest compilation is important to note because of it is more than just e-mastering in the case of these songs. So many of the songs featured here sound so much fuller and richer than the original works thanks to the production. That is evident right from the record’s outset. The re-worked take of ‘Passive Restraints’ boasts a sound that is so much fuller and richer than its source material. That original work presents more of a garage/punk style approach while the new, updated version is more in line with Clutch’s more familiar stoner rock sound. The addition of Lamb of God front man Randy Blythe to the mix makes for even more punch to the song’s updated presentation.
The production that went into the update of ‘Spacegrass’ is another way in which the record’s production proves its importance. In the case of this song’s update, the production makes the arrangement in whole sound so much clearer than in its original take. The whole sounds so much fuller. The original just had more of that noted garage/DIY style sound and style while the updated take clearly took full advantage of the current recording technology to flesh out the arrangement’s sound so much more. It takes the original arrangement’s approach and basically takes it to a new, even more enjoyable level.
On a completely different note, the band’s cover of John Fogerty’s timeless hit ‘Fortunate Son’ is another example of the importance of the record’s production. This “new” song takes Fogerty’s classic – which has been covered countless times by so many acts across the musical universe – and stays true to the original while giving that original the band’s own unique kick in the pants. It is another full, rich, aggressive song that fully translates the frustration in the song’s lyrical content just as much as the original and so many of the existing covers. When this is taken into consideration with the production put into the other examined songs and the rest of the compilation’s featured works, the whole leaves no doubt as to the importance of the record’s production and the positive result of that work. Keeping that in mind, the production is just one more of the important elements of Clutch’s new compilation record. Its sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
The sequencing of Clutch’s new compilation is important to address because of its role in keeping audiences engaged and entertained. The whole starts off on an energetic note in ‘Passive Restraints’ and only pulls back slightly as it makes its way into ‘Run, John Barleycorn, Run.’ The record’s energy picks right back up in ‘Evil (Is Going On)’ and stays high until the album reaches the updated take of ‘Spacegrass.’ ;Precious Grace’ maintains the record’s laid back energy before things pick back up again in ‘Smoke Banshee.’ That record continues on through the album’s closer, the updated take of ‘Willie Nelson.’ Simply put, the energy rises and falls just enough throughout the course of the album, ensuring even more, listeners’ engagement and entertainment. When this aspect is considered along with the record’s production and is featured songs, the whole of the record proves to be another positive compilation from Clutch.
Clutch’s fifth compilation record The Weathermaker Vault Series: Volume 1 is an interesting new offering from the veteran stoner/fuzz rock band. That is due in part to its featured songs. Only two of the record’s 10 total songs are repeats from any of the band’s past compilation records. The rest of the songs are first-time entries and covers. The production that went into the featured songs adds to the record’s appeal even more. The sequencing of the featured songs does its own part to the whole of the compilation. That is because it balances the record’s energy expertly from start to end. Each item examined here is key in its own way to the whole of this record. All things considered, they make the presentation a work that despite being just a compilation, is still such that it will be welcomed by Clutch’s most devoted fans. It is scheduled for release Friday.
More information on Clutch’s new compilation record and more is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:
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