Fu Manchu
Clone of the Universe


3.8
excellent

Review

by insomniac15 STAFF
February 10th, 2018 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "A future reshape, time in reverse"

There’s no band like Fu Manchu in the stoner rock genre. Many acts tried to copy these seasoned musicians, however, none had such impact or longevity. Active since 1985, these veterans have been just as influential as Kyuss or Monster Magnet in shaping this sonic field, keeping their own trajectory throughout the decades. There’s so much groove and coolness in their catalog, no other act can be as proud of this fact as them. They can turn any dull listener into a rad, California surfer dude with chicks passing beers to him as they ride along the PCH. As the sonic blueprints remained the same over the years, the albums varied in catchiness rather than quality. Previous affair, Gigantoid benefited from a tighter string of tracks, signaling a comeback after a decade of less essential output. I hoped Clone of the Universe could maintain that momentum and luckily, it does.

Initially announced in 2015, but repeatedly postponed, Clone of the Universe brings to the table another batch of headbangers and a big surprise for fans as the second half. The classic Fu Manchu set is augmented by a more dynamic approach to tempo shifts, leaving the straightforward, punk mindset in the background. ‘(I’ve Been) Hexed’ and ‘Slower Than Light’ are main examples, since the former alternates between laid back verses and soaring choruses, complete with wild solos. The latter grows from a wandering beat where bouncy bass lines guide the way to a pounding number. Guitars gently embellish them until inevitably, the guys amplify the riffs for the main hook. Towards the last minute, the mid-tempo ditty is turned into a fun, frenetic rocker. These aren’t drastic changes in sound, however, kudos to them for not giving up on diversifying structures. Meanwhile, the title track and ‘Nowhere Left to Hide’ do their best to maintain this direction. Some of the heaviest grooves are featured on ‘Nowhere Left to Hide’ and Scott’s punctuating vocals are at their most effective here. Also, opener ‘Intelligent Worship’ is that strong, familiar, cosmic-natured tune that rocks at any moment you turn it on. I am amazed how easy they can craft such sharp chord progressions all the time without getting dull.

In a successful attempt to spice things up, Fu Manchu created an 18-minute long closer, 'Il Mostro Atomico' on which Rush’s Alex Lifeson makes an appearance. The unexpected collaboration gave life to a multi-faceted beast, focusing on the instrumental instead of lyrics. The first part is a scorcher that very smoothly morphs into a moody segment during which tom-heavy drum patterns pave the way for several transitions leading us to the song’s core. This is where some trademark moments burst in with a heavier emphasis on guitar solos, plus Scott does a brief vocal appearance as well. By this moment, you realize there are enough riffs on ‘Il Mostro Atomico’ to expand for an entire record. The barn burning coda is a perfect end to Clone of the Universe and also leaves us wondering whether the band will make an effort to add some more progressive influences to their output in the future. Then again, I do not want them to suddenly change things around (I am sure they won’t, plus, another California Crossing is long overdue), because tight rockers are their strength (take for example the short, but excellent ‘Don’t Panic’). Nevertheless, the attempts here are rewarding and keep the engine running just as fast as ever.




Recent reviews by this author
Calexico The Thread that Keeps UsBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club Wrong Creatures
Mangoo The HeatWordclock Heralds
Causa Sui Vibraciones DoradasCairo Knife Fight Seven
user ratings (42)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4)
The sound is certainly predictable even if the band has never done it in this format, but one can’...


Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2018


4433 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Another strong Fu Manchu album.



Stream it here - http://fumanchuband.bandcamp.com/

Or here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xf_If-TaF0

Digging: Fu Manchu - Clone of the Universe

Dewinged
February 10th 2018


8218 Comments


On my priority list this week!

Sweet review as always Raul.

Digging: Polica - Give You The Ghost

SIIMBOLIC
February 10th 2018


922 Comments


man stoner rock/metal faces a massive drop off after the classics have been explored

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2018


4433 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Thanks!



Yeah, I agree. Most of the bands I'm still listening to are the older acts. The market is overly saturated, there are so many bands that sound the same. Unfortunately, many of them get a lot more attention as being "fresh", rather than the original ones.

SIIMBOLIC
February 10th 2018


922 Comments


yeah most just rape the whole Sabbath/ 12 bar blues to death without doing anything original. Elder being the exception that comes to mind

Papa Universe
February 10th 2018


11923 Comments


oh boy, here i go jammin' again

Digging: Ought - Room Inside The World

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2018


4433 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"Elder being the exception that comes to mind"



Elder themselves have rightfully become a big source of inspiration for newer acts/peers as well. Listen to the new Somali Yacht Club and Weedpecker, they sound good, but it's Elder front to back.

SIIMBOLIC
February 10th 2018


922 Comments


haven't heard of those other guys will defs check.

dead roots stirring gave stoner a new lease on life imo

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 10th 2018


4433 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yeah, their latest 3 albums have proved stoner/psychedelic rock still has a lot to offer. It's just that many bands prefer to not bother discovering a thing of their own. If you are successful playing the same stuff, then all's good I guess.

rodrigo90
February 10th 2018


3894 Comments


I miss the time in which all the fu manchu covers were about vehicles.

foxblood
February 10th 2018


8183 Comments


agreed, Daredevil is so sick

RogueNine
February 10th 2018


3446 Comments


Alex Lifeson is on this?? Wow.

foxblood
February 10th 2018


8183 Comments


I hope this band continues to do well

wham49
February 10th 2018


3736 Comments


cool, will def. check, I like me some Fu

ChaoticVortex
February 10th 2018


565 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A great blend of the punkish-Fu Manchu with the sludgier Fu Manchu (Nowhere Left To Hide) before heading off to uncharted territory with the 18-minute long epic.

In short they still kick ass.

tacos n stuff
February 10th 2018


2906 Comments


90% chance this has riffs

Pho3nix
February 10th 2018


400 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Very refreshing since it clocks in at only 36 minutes, better than their last!

Dwap
February 11th 2018


110 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is their strongest album since California Crossing. Not that they've ever released anything bad but this is something else.

Inveigh
February 12th 2018


26409 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this rocks hard m/

DrGunther
February 13th 2018


203 Comments


Another good one this, same quality as Gigantoid really. In Search Of is still as good as it gets in this genre for me.

Sort of hoping they don't play the 18 minute one live when I'm seeing them next month, as they only played for an hour last time!



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy