Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fu Manchu - Clone of The Universe (2018)

Usually I don't review albums from established bands like this, but I felt like I needed to make an exception here. Fu Manchu certainly doesn't need my help in promoting their new album. I'm simply writing this review to file it away for the "Best of" year end list, and also to proclaim that it is probably my favorite Fu Manchu album of all time. Even more so than "The Action is Go".
My love for that album started not too long after it came out. I was reading Thrasher or Guitar World (I can't remember where the article originated), and I saw Fu Manchu being featured with J Yuenger of White Zombie (who I'm still a fan or, just not Rob) who apparently produced their new album. I remember him saying he let the band use his vast pedal collection, but that's the only thing I really remember from that article. Either way, It peaked my interest and when I finally got my hands on "The Action is Go", it blew my mind. The front cover with the retro skateboarding picture captured the full essence of the whole album. Godzilla sized 70's style rock riffs with a punk rock energy played to the backdrop of a California summer.  This was my introduction to Stoner/Desert Rock, and I believe this was my doorway drug to the harder stuff like Sleep and Electric Wizard. I was already a metal head well before that, so it makes sense I would be drawn to the more sinister and aggressive aspects of the Stoner genre.
Fast forward to yesterday when I listened to this for the first time. I mean up until this point I have casually followed their albums. I liked "King of The Road" but after that I got quite lost on their stuff. It just didn't seem to hold up for compared to what I heard. Until now. I mean seriously, this is a great fucking album. The guitar and bass still have that massive fuzz sound that's often duplicated but nothing is quite like the original. The riffs are just as Kaiju-like as they ever have been before, and they're just a little less California Sunshine and little bit more Angry Red Planet Mars. I think what I like most about this album is the fact that the last track is about just as long as all of the other songs combined, and it features Alex Lifeson from Rush on it.  In a way it makes me feel a little nostalgic about rush even if i'm not the biggest fan. Just knowing they're not going to be together anymore makes the track seem a little bit more special.The song might seem vast but it doesn't get old, and it's not bogged down by being repetitive with plenty of tasty riffs to keep the listener satisfied.
So overall this is definitely one of my favorites of the year from a band that I have been a fan of for decades now. So grab your skateboard, or bong, or whatever you need this to be the soundtrack for and turn this shit up, because it fucking rules. We live in a day and age where Stoner Rock is plentiful, and for the most part have nothing new to offer. Yet, for whatever reason, Fu Manchu manage to pull off their signature sound while still feeling fresh after all of these yes. Cheers! -Samir

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