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Clamfight - "I Versus The Glacier" (CD)

Clamfight - "I Versus The Glacier" CD cover image

"I Versus The Glacier" track listing:

1. The Eagle (6:10)
2. Sand Riders (5:10)
3. The Shadow Line (3:44)
4. I Vs. the Glacier (5:38)
5. Age of Reptiles (4:02)
6. River of Ice (6:16)
7. Mountain (5:24)
8. The Green Gods of Yag (4:59)
9. Stealing the Ghost Horse (6:56)

Reviewed by on January 24, 2013

"'I Versus the Glacier' is one of the first great records of 2013; alas, one that has the possibility of not getting the proper attention from the metal masses."

Clamfight’s first album, “Volume I,” was a strong benchmark for their stoner metal prowess, and there is no chance of a sophomore dud with “I Versus the Glacier.” Instead of spreading out the recording sessions over an extended time period, like the band members did on the first record, they got through “I Versus the Glacier” in less than a week. This gives their second album a feel of continuity, and along with improved production and shorter songs, makes for a sharper effort than “Volume I.”

Though physical copies of albums are not the primary means most people engage their music, the cover art to “I Versus the Glacier” is an accurate visual portrayal of Clamfight’s sonic elements. Two women, dressed in revealing armor, point their swords towards the horizon. A tower is out there, a light from the top clashing with the dark rays of lightning in the sky. Expand the album and two fire-drenches stallions look ready to send these women of war into battle. It’s a vivid cover, and opening the actual CD case reveals the fate of said women.

The cover is the reason to land a copy of the CD. Just seeing the colorful artwork in person instills a sense of awe at what the album could be like before it’s even played. Talk to any music fan who was around during the ‘70s and ‘80s, and they’ll tell you that the album used to be a gateway to the discovery of a new band. Clamfight is wise in not going for the usual booklet of lyrics and cliche band member photos, but letting the art speak for the band better than eight pages of words could.

Clamfight doesn’t break new ground in stoner metal with “I Versus the Glacier,” but they are solid songwriters. “Sand Riders,” with its infectious riffs and striking pace, is one of their best-written songs to date. A few tracks, like the monstrous closer “Stealing the Ghost Horse” and no-frills “Age of Reptiles,” come close to receiving that distinguished honor. There’s little to argue about as far as the approach goes, which is heavy on the ripping solos and chunky riffs.

The band avoids deviating from their format, though they are so good at it that it’s hardly a factor. Variety is included thanks to a noisy therein placed in the final minutes of the title track and the scorching instrumental “The Green Gods of Yag.” “Stealing the Ghost Horse” tries out clean vocals, which act as a sharp contrast to the unrestricted yelling that drummer Andy Martin pulls off on the rest of the album. The vocals themselves aren’t spectacular like some of the instrumental work is, but they do the job.

“I Versus the Glacier” is one of the first great records of 2013; alas, one that has the possibility of not getting the proper attention from the metal masses. The members of Clamfight know what they want out of their music, and there isn’t any awkward creative license taken with their sound. Stoner metal fanatics will love “I Versus the Glacier,” and it’s clear the band has made forward progress since “Volume I.”

Highs: Strong stoner metal tunes, plenty of noteworthy riffs to trudge through, a few surprises keeps the album moving along at a brisk pace

Lows: Doesn't bring anything new to the table

Bottom line: “I Versus the Glacier” is a great stoner metal album to start off 2013 with.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)