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4 out of 5 skulls
February 26, 2013 | ,

Clamfight I Versus the Glacier

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a couple of clams (or any other mollusk, for that matter) throw down and beat the shit out of one another, but if the name is good enough for these New Jersey riff mongers then, dammit, it’s good by me. The band’s sophomore release, I Versus the Glacier, couldn’t have been more aptly named as they trudge through nine thundering tracks of glacial, doomy sludge that is equally at home in a dive bar brawl as it is clinging to the resinous insides of a well used bong.

Getting things started with massive, catchy riffage is the opening track of “The Eagle.” The song packs in cavernous guitars, barbaric rhythms and just the right amount of melody to accompany vocalist (and drummer) Andy Martin’s gruff delivery just about perfectly. It’s a song that more that accurately introduces us to the destructive tandem of guitarists Sean McKee and Joel Harris. As impressive as those guys are the tracks wouldn’t come together quite as well without the low-end rumble of bassist Louis Koble. From this point on we’re treated and bludgeoned by massive riff after massive riff and earth-shaking rhythms — all with a neck-snapping groove.

“Sandriders” keeps the flow galloping along nicely with catchy riffs and more head-banging groove. There’s some seriously impressive lead work throughout that has a bit of a classic rock vibe, but sits quite comfortably amid the fuzzed out guitars. “Shadow Line” carries a decidedly more aggressive tone and vocal delivery, though it does sort of get lost amongst the more memorable songs like the southern-fried title track or the absolutely crushing “Age of Reptiles,” one of my favorite songs on the album — the uptempo pace of which will leave your neck sore for days especially during the lead around the 2:30 mark.

Monstrous drums fill up the slow moving “River of Ice,” and “Mountain” lurches through thick bong smoke with a more pronounced doom aspect. The combination of these two songs will certainly leave their mark. The five minute long instrumental, “The Green Gods of Yag,” I can only presume is a glorious ode to the massive pile of kind sitting on the soundboard as these guys jammed it out. And album closer, “Stealing the Ghost Horse,” is got more stoner sludge and southern-tinged goodness than you’ll know what to do with. It’s a solid album closer that ties up I Versus the Glacier nicely.

Clamfight may have one of the more unique monikers, but don’t let the name fool you, these guys mean some serious business. Their brand of doomy, sludgy metal has a bit of a malevolent edge to it that gives their second full-length an aura of brooding danger. It’s a combination that works in the bands favor and only proves that you should check this shit out.

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