Album Review: Clutch – Weathermaker Vault Series : Volume 1

Album Review: Clutch - Weathermaker Vault Series : Volume 1
Reviewed by Tim Finch

Back in the summer of 2019 Clutch started releasing digital only songs under the banner of the “Weathermaker Vault Series”. These songs were covers, Clutch’s own take on some classic rock tunes and some reworkings of their own, vast, back catalogue. This series garnered rave reviews, grew a cult like following online and some of the covers even made it to Clutch’s live set.

This November, for the very first time, this collection of songs are getting a physical release on CD and vinyl under the banner 'Weathermaker Vault Series : Volume 1'.

Album Review: Clutch - Weathermaker Vault Series : Volume 1

The record opens with the very latest tune to be released digitally, a reworking of the bands ‘Passive Restraints’ featuring Randy Blythe of Lamb of God. Whilst Randy adds an aggressive edge to the tune, it is still very much a Clutch number delivering lashings of rock and blues fueled riffs. ‘Electric Worry’ also gets reworked, sans any guest artist. It’s a stripped back version of the Clutch classic, the band having perfected it in the live arena for many years. The guitar has more twang, the drums are stick perfect; holding back when warranted and driving forward at a moments notice. But the song hangs off Fallon’s vocal delivery and at a number of points his voice is the only "instrument" in action. This version is more polished that the original, it’s a different delivery, not better and not worse just a different take on a wonderful tune.

As the record moves on the covers kick in. ‘Evil (Is Going On)’ the Willie Dixon cover is first up. The song getting the Clutch make over perfectly. Followed swiftly by ‘Fortunate Son’ – the Credence Clearwater Revival classic. This is the stand out track of the album, Clutch started performing it live last year and it is sheer perfection. A version of the song so good it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.

Pushing the envelope on the record is ‘Algo Ha Cambiado’; a Norberto Napolitano cover. Fallon sings it in Spanish, and he seems to adjust to the language with ease. Another standout is the ZZ Top cover of ‘Precious and Grace’ which to the uninitiated melds into the Clutch sphere as if it was their own song. Highlighting, if anyone needed it, where Clutch so often draw their inspiration from.

More of their own reworkings are slipped onto the record with new versions of ‘Run, John Barleycorn, Run‘, ‘Spacegrass’ and the record closed off with ‘Willie Nelson’, reworked from the original version from their ‘Slow Hole To China’ album.

In a year that has been a complete stinker and at a time where the UK would be getting ready for that traditional Clutch winter tour, this album is the perfect antidote. Clutch are at their very best, experimenting, covering and reworking some classics in a way only Neil Fallon and the boys could. This band really cannot do anything wrong!

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