Clamfight has been rocking a particularly melodic brand of sludge metal since their 2010 debut, but their first album in five years opts for a different take on the formula. In contrast to the first two albums’ more straightforward pounding, III ups the ante with longer song lengths and hefty post-metal aesthetics that suggest even more influence from Mastodon, Neurosis, and Elder than before. It’s certainly a striking approach though thankfully not one that feels like a completely different band.
III is easily the most melodic album that Clamfight has released so far, but even taken on its own terms it turns to be a pretty solid post-sludge metal album. Fans of the genre can safely checkmark the tropes on display as songs like the eleven and twelve minute “Whale Road” and “History of the Earls of Orkney” are filled to the brim with drawn out swells, crushing guitars, smooth percussive beats, ambient feedback, and bellowing vocals that accentuate the atmosphere.
Of course, the album isn’t all meditation metal navel gazing. “Echoes in Stone” is a more straightforward tune that stands out for the splendidly contrasting guest vocals that come courtesy of Shroud Eater’s Janette Valentine and Jeannie Saiz. Ironically, the five minute instrumental “Eynhallow” may actually run a little too long despite being the album’s shortest track. Fortunately, it does offer some sweet bass and guitar ambiance.
Overall, Clamfight’s third album comes off as a somewhat typical post-sludge outing but it also shows the band successfully expanding their sound with some strong songwriting to match. The overall style is rather typical for the style but there are just enough little moments that help it stand out in a rather large scene. Fans of bands like Neurosis will know what to expect, but should also find plenty to enjoy.
“Echoes in Stone”
“History of the Earls of Orkney”