Clutch – Slow Hole To China: Rare & Unreleased Review

Posted: August 16, 2011 by kingcrimsonprog in Metal, Metal - Studio, Music Reviews, Rock Studio

Clutch - Slow Hole To China

Clutch - Slow Hole To China

Clutch’s Slow Hole To China album is a collection of rare and unreleased material and is available in a few versions with slightly different track listings. The original 2003 version, or the remastered 2009 version with three extra tracks, “Hale Bopp Blues” “Ship of Gold (West Virginia)” and “King of Arizona.”

As a generalization; Many band’s rarities and b-sides albums consist of a collection of songs with wildly fluctuating song writing and production qualities sitting uncomfortably beside each other, with a bad ratio of worthwhile material to poor material. After all, the bands decided not to put it out in the first place for some reason or other.

Slow Hole To China feels much more like a complete studio album than any rarities collection I’ve ever heard before, with a pretty consistent audio quality and a musical quality up to Clutch’s usual, remarkably high standard. The fact that the band still to this day perform a lot of these songs live is testament to their worth; as is the fact that some have found their way onto the band’s live albums.

The music ranges from straight forward rockers, to slow burn stoner style numbers, to complex instrumental workouts and the odd acoustic section here or there. Something for fans of all eras of the band.

Highlights include ‘Sea Of Destruction,’ ‘Easy Breeze,’ ‘Hoodo Operator,’ and ‘Day Of The Jackalope,’ all of which would be more than at home on one of the band’s proper studio albums and which would fit perfectly into a live set without seeming out of place.

Overall, Slow Hole To China isn’t just for collectors and is not for hardcore fans only. If you like Clutch you should pick up a copy. Slow Hole’ is a great collection of eclectic material from various styles but with a feeling of cohesion and unity that is rare among this type of release. I highly recommend it.

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