by Ryan Meehan
I’m going to see Clutch at RIBCO on May 10th. I’m beginning this review with that sentence is that I’d like to take a moment to discuss the recent bastardization of the term “stoner metal”. (Or rock, depending on where the line is drawn) To me, it’s sort of inappropriately applied nomenclature. When I first got into Clutch I never really considered their music to be that genre at all. To me, that’s what a “jam band” is really supposed to be. Not Widespread Panic or any half-assed “jam” like that…a legitimate jam band that could throw down and have it be heavy the whole time. Conventional wisdom would suggest that would sound tougher anyway. The SM term didn’t exist in 1998 when we were listening to a metric ton of Clutch. (At least not in the Midwest) We just thought it was good music, and any sort of classification only limits the artist. Unfortunately, this is a music review so it’s impossible to dance around labels.
Using the term “stoner metal” for anything implies two things – that it’s all metal (which it isn’t) and that everyone who’s listening to it is ripped. (which they aren’t) I find that a lot of the music that’s classified under this subgenre is really more hardcore than anything. I can grasp where that assignment might have come from, as most of the music like HOF, Clutch and especially old Kyuss (Ex-Queens of the Stone Age) has this very low and heavily distorted groove to it. It seems laid back and less frantic than a lot of the faster sub-classifications of metal, such as thrash metal, speed metal, and most recently black metal. I suppose when it comes down to it, it’s all metal and he point is that you’re not going to see a whole lot of these bands performing on Lifetime Movie Network anytime soon. So it’s debatable that any of that even really matters, but I can definitely tell you that over the past decade the popularity of the internet has only increased the spreading of this terminology. Continue reading