Clutch : London Highbury Garage

...it's the wrong place, wrong time...

Sure there are more visible targets, but if you're looking for someone to blame, you could start here. Since 1993 the burly, bearded Maryland men in Clutch have traded in riffs that everyone from Limp Bizkit to Crazytown have since utilised. The fact that they've spectacularly failed to capitalise on their innovation is no mitigation.

The beats might be less advanced and there's no rapping, but much of tonight is like watching the screaming-bastard birth of Nu-Metal. As if that wasn't bad enough, they also peddle heavy-gravity funk, interminable wheedling guitar solos and some bongo-led jams that sound like Fun Lovin' Criminals gone greaser.

They're slightly better when they steal riffs wholesale from Black Sabbath, play them at blast furnace volume and couple them with Neil Fallon's vocals which sound like vomit violently regurgitating itself. In fact, they could almost be stoner rock if, unlike Queens Of The Stone Age, it wasn't done without any humour, star quality or indispensable tunes.

In normal times, they might just serve as a passable stoner stop gap. As Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri have just reappeared like gunslingers on rock's horizon, they simply don't. For Clutch it's the wrong place, wrong time yet again.

Jim Alexander

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