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Clamfight : Thank You Delaware (Live)

An enthusiastically-delivered 'live bootleg' that shows off Clamfight's energy.

Delaware: despite a claim to fame as the first state to ratify the US Constitution, it doesn't seem to get much recognition, far less thanks, in the Metal music world. Perhaps sitting square in the shadow of Maryland will do that to a place. Still, here are New Jerseyites Clamfight to set that particular record straight*, with a live set of tracks taken mainly from their 2013 'I Vs The Glacier' album.

I was a bit startled to discover the band itself already has a 13-year history, and goes back even further than that under other incarnations. Actually, a quick read of their history and bio on Facebook is surprisingly good value, and it's nice to know that the name Clamfight "encompasses everything we find dear in life, most importantly music". As it would, obviously.

We can probably forgive the early beginnings of playing Korn covers, and wanting a guitarist who could do Nirvana, since things have moved on a little since then. Contemporary Clamfight is a four-piece assembly offering a blend of energetic Sludge/Stoner with often-shouty vocals that draws influences from many of the usual suspects - Crowbar, Kyuss, Sleep, Black Sabbath and a touch of Led Zeppelin. Despite the sometime-Hardcore edge to the vocals, the music itself tends to the Stoner side of the divide, with a backbone of massive riffs and some great '70s Heavy Metal-style guitar lines weaving through them.

It's a combination that translates well into live format: there may not be much that screams of outright originality, but it certainly rocks out in a very pleasing fashion that demonstrates the band's enthusiasm for what they do. Captured here in Contaminated Tones' usual old-school cassette format and packaged with pictures of the band members in action, the sound is clean and robust by 'bootleg' standards. The unusual combination of drummer Andy also being the vocalist presents a certain challenge to the balance, but it's overcome reasonably well: his voice is quite audible, without letting the drums overpowering everything else. In large part, I suspect that's down to sheer lung power, and a willingness to bellow 'til he vomits: a topic covered in amusing fashion in the final bonus interview segment.

There's certainly nothing to really complain about with this release - given its origins in raw, live, underground footage - and quite a lot to praise in the no-nonsense stomp which Clamfight bring to the party. It sounds like the show was a good one: the audience sound is unobtrusive but quietly appreciative, and the band are clearly enjoying themselves running through some favourite numbers. And, as you'd expect from an outfit that's been together as long as they have, it's a slick performance which cranks out the riffs with a practised ease that stays true to the album versions.

Live albums do often raise the question of who might want to buy them, outside of the obvious hardcore fanbase. 'Thank You Delaware' covers that, of course, but equally it wouldn't be a tragedy if - as in my case - it was the first you'd heard of Clamfight. It's got enough range and depth to it to present a decent picture of a group that really knows what they like, and delivers it with some gusto. Not bad. Not bad at all.

* Editor's note: It should be pointed out that the band were only joking, since they were playing in Dingbatz Club, New Jersey, at the time.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. The Eagle
2. Sand Riders
3. Block Ship
4. Ghosts I Have Known
5. I Vs The Glacier
6. Stealing The Ghost Horse
7. Black Metal Weather (2011 Interview Segment)

Duration : Approx. 46 minutes

Visit the Clamfight bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-11-02 by Mike Liassides
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