New Jersey’s Clamfight deliver their most dynamic and most sprawling material date on their third full-length album, III.
Clamfight have never been strangers to the riff, as made evident by their previous two full-lengths. Since their inception, the band have crafted a very riff-heavy brand of sludge metal that harks to the doomsayers of old, while throwing in stoner and classic hard rock sensibilities for good measure. 2010’s Volume I and 2013’s I Versus the Glacier were chock full of heavy guitars and rock n’ roll swagger that provided as many earworm moments as they did heavy ones. On their newest LP, the band have opted for more serious and dynamic songwriting, resulting in longer, cinematic compositions and an overall epic feel.
The 11-minute “Whale Road” kicks the record off with a hypnotic intro of thunderous drum fills and melodic, repetitive chord progressions. Around the two-minute mark, the guitars to conjure buzzing leads before the band employ a lengthy barrage of pulverizing sludge riffs, stampeding grooves and blistering solos. The band’s penchant for psychedelic/70s rock virtuosity and shimmering leads spearheads the remainder of the track before it bleeds into a climax of droning fuzz.
“Whale Road” transitions seamlessly into the one-two punch of “Selkie” and “Echoes in Stone”. These two tracks showcase Clamfight at their most straightforward and aggressive. “Selkie” wastes no time assaulting the listener with monstrous, hammering riffs and seismic drumming that refuses to letup during its eight-minute runtime. “Echoes in Stones” picks up where “Selkie” left off with its own arsenal of cataclysmic doom and gloom, but breaks up the gritty beatdowns with melodic, anthemic choruses that stick to the mind.
“Eynhallow” follows next and provides a break from the sludge-ridden Hell with five minutes of gorgeous clean guitar riffs and ethereal ambiance. The record is then brought to the close by the 12-minute leviathan, “History of the Earls of Oakley”. This stunning cut is filled to the brim with bashing, galloping riffs and flourishes of hazy-eyed lead work. The song bleeds effortlessly between these moments of pure sludge rage and melodic splendor throughout, before the track ends in a fiery climax of six-stringed punishment.
Clamfight have outdone themselves on this new LP. Their new affinity for slow-burning tension and multifaceted songwriting has resulted in the sound they have always needed, not to mention the creation of their magnum opus to date.
Release Date: January 19, 2018
Label: Argonauta Records
Favorite Tracks: “Whale Road” and “Selkie”
For Fans Of: Thorr-Axe, High on Fire and Behold! the Monolith