Clutch
Book of Bad Decisions


3.5
great

Review

by Simon CONTRIBUTOR (213 Reviews)
September 8th, 2018 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Book of Bad Decisions is close to greatness but never quite reaches its potential.

When you’ve been doing this as long as Clutch have, you pick up a thing or two along the way. It’s an understated achievement that these guys have been doing this blues-stoner amalgam a little shy of three decades now, but when every album they’ve ever released stands as an artistic merit, it’s something few bands of the same era can care to claim. It’s like the chiselling of a statue they’ve been working on since 1991 and now, with Book of Bad Decisions, we almost get a glimpse at the finished sculpture. Just short of the hour mark, Book of Bad Decisions gives you an overly generous offering of warm bluesy riffs, sleazy fuzzed-out grooves and a crusty desert heat cementing the album’s aesthetic, made all the more vivid through Neil’s playful lyrics and southern drawled vocals. Songs are composed with panache and exuberance, with an array of instruments at hand to bring these tracks to life. There’s a wide selection of textures and tools in the bag here to make this a rock-solid album: the frenzied piano section and Neil’s perky contributions make “Vision Quest” sound like an energized saloon brawl; the organ on “Emily Dickinson” is a subtle lashing at the start of the song, buried underneath stoner sensibilities, eventually showing its worth at the explosive chorus where it supports the empowered hook; and the horn section on “In Walks Barbarella” sounds like an initially odd fit, but wins you over by the end of the track and works extremely well in its context.

The entire record is built around excess and elaborate writing; a bombardment on the senses. When Book of Bad Decisions doesn’t have Neil throwing instruments at you, it has Tim laying out Floydian guitar swells and psychedelic passages that plunge you deeper into the rabbit hole, and it’s these parts that break away as the standout highlights for me. The problem is that they aren’t as prevalent as I’d like them to be. As with a lot of Clutch material, the fat hangs low and needs a good trim around the sides. It’s a very long-winded album, one that constantly wears out its welcome. A lot of the tracks here could have been cut down a minute or two or dropped entirely, “Graul Wrangler”, “Spirit of 76” and “Lorelei” are the easy culprits for the damage, songs that just seem to lack the staying power or just drone on for way too long. There’s a frequent occurrence where tracks stop to smell their own roses than focus on the task at hand. If the band centred its attentions on the tight-knit writing of “How to Shake Hands” they could well be sat on their best album to date. As it stands, it’s one that shows a band’s sound meticulously crafted to the tee, but still lacks the fundamental restraint to tell a concise story without it backfiring on them. It has some of their best moments here, and for fans of the band it will certainly deliver, but expect to wade through needless indulgence from time to time.

FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶ ̶(̶V̶A̶R̶I̶O̶U̶S̶)̶/̶/̶C̶D̶/̶/̶C̶D̶ ̶B̶O̶O̶K̶ ̶E̶D̶I̶T̶I̶O̶N̶

PACKAGING: N/A

SPECIAL EDITION: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: http://www.pro-rock.com/



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user ratings (60)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4)
Book of Bad Decisions is a good album dealing with a few more setbacks than usual...


Comments:Add a Comment 
InFlamesWeThrash666
September 8th 2018


8315 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This didn't do anything for me

Digging: Voivod - The Wake

Spluger
September 8th 2018


1935 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hot Bottom Feeder is stupid catchy. Nice review : )

Digging: Infernal Coil - Within a World Forgotten

rodrigo90
September 8th 2018


4667 Comments


I'm scared of googles, because it always notifies me of great albums but it doesn't even now my musical tastes.

JS19
September 8th 2018


6801 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is a damp f-ing squib after the last two damn

Digging: Leech - For Better or For Worse

Hellscythe
September 8th 2018


2880 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is a slight step below the last two

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 8th 2018


7961 Comments


This album has so much energy packed into it.

Digging: Windfaerer - Alma

PistolPete
September 8th 2018


4796 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I’m still forming an opinion but also listened to blast tyrant again this morning and the difference in impact between those two albums is immediately noticeable. Somehow they were just able to get more out of their instruments back then Iunno.

DominionMM1
September 8th 2018


17123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

decent effort here

BigPleb
September 8th 2018


54509 Comments


Earth Rocker is Clutch’s modern opus, what an album.

Nrap
September 8th 2018


412 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I feel like Tim is underappreciated for his ability to provide riffs for all eternity

Evok
September 8th 2018


7317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ghoul Wranger is the ultimate backyard bbq'ing diddy

Digging: Dysylumn - Occultation

Pho3nix
September 9th 2018


514 Comments


Best fucking album cover of 2018

A Perfect Circle what are you even doing?

JS19
September 9th 2018


6801 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I think the album cover is as dull as the music

Dewinged
September 9th 2018


11061 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A couple of good tracks but sometimes it's hard to believe they are the same guys that did Blast Tyrant. Good review Gonzo.

Digging: Emma Ruth Rundle - On Dark Horses

8genre
September 9th 2018


68 Comments


"Book of Bad Decisions is close to greatness"

3.5 great

....


....

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2018


4594 Comments


I totally agree with the review and rating. A few songs could've been kept as bonus tracks on a deluxe edition. The last couple of albums were to the point and that helped a lot.

Digging: Conan - Existential Void Guardian

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
September 10th 2018


14682 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cheers guys.



Yeah, this had the potential to be their best album yet. It's just a shame it's hindered with too many ideas.

Digging: Leeched - You Took The Sun When You Left

BigBlob
September 10th 2018


4111 Comments


band kinda sucks tbh

Digging: Marty Friedman - Scenes

Scheumke
September 10th 2018


17 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Listening to it now. Not that into it yet, but then again it's not really my kind of music. So far as I can tell they're pretty good at what they're doing though.

Digging: Boston Manor - Welcome to the Neighbourhood

PistolPete
September 10th 2018


4796 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Ohhh, I'm ready to give the people what they want, and what they want is

STRAIGHT TALK

AND NO JIVE!!"



...too catchy, why is that so catchy?



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