Fu Manchu – ‘Clone Of The Universe’ (At The Dojo Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Friday, 09 February 2018 04:00

Fu Manchu artworkIn hindsight, the last decade or so in rock and metal is fairly reflective of how influential Fu Manchu has been to many of the current heavy hitters of the genre. Bands like Mastadon, Baronness, and Red Fang have clearly been inspired by, and to some degree capitalized on the stoner/desert metal template set by their Californian ancestors. Despite this influence, Fu Manchu has never enjoyed the wider critical and commercial accolades of their successors. And so it is that twelfth album, ‘Clone Of The Universe’, will undoubtedly reach a smaller audience, albeit one that appreciates the band’s integral role in the evolution of the genre.


In terms of a cohesive collection of songs, ‘Clone Of The Universe’ doesn’t take a wrong step during its perfectly edited runtime of thirty-six minutes. The majority of the album finds the band returning to the short, sharp bursts of unrestrained adrenaline that so defined their earliest releases. ‘Intelligent Worship’ is an ideal opener; the wah-drenched, fuzzy guitar tones and overdriven bass giving the impression of a band performing in a garage, but with a sonic power that is unrivalled by many modern stadium acts. It’s a confident and immediate start from musicians firing on all cylinders in every aspect.


‘(I’ve Been) Hexed’ finds Fu Manchu taking a more straight ahead approach, delivering a stomping anthem that could easily resonate with fans of early Queens Of The Stone Age. From here, the pace is significantly upped with the hardcore rollicking of ‘Don’t Panic’, as Scott Hill gives his finest approximation of Henry Rollins imitating Iggy Pop. The psychedelic nuances of ‘Slower Than Light’ eventually lead to several masterfully executed tempo changes, before the doomy ‘Nowhere Left To Hide’ displays its plethora of riffs, each of which are worthy of Iommi’s seal of approval.



When Fu Manchu do let loose with the extravagant 18-minute jam of ‘Il Mostro Atomico’, they continue to maintain the succinct songwriting approach found on the previous tracks. Admirably, the shift in dynamics utilized on this song means that each and every droning riff meets its very full potential, no avenue remaining unexplored. The guest spot from Rush’s Alex Lifeson on guitar is merely the cherry on top of an exquisitely constructed piece of music. And if that wasn’t enough, Scott Reeder provides some of the most pornographic usage of cow bell in recent memory – you know, for those of you who are into that kind of thing.


‘Clone Of The Universe’ is one of the best representations of the many facets to Fu Manchu’s music. As ramshackle as it is powerful, and as immediate as it is complex, it’s an album deserving of repeat listens to fully appreciate the subtle intricacies of its arrangement. A must listen for those who prefer their riffs in glorious abundance.           


‘Clone Of The Universe’ is released today (Friday 9 February). You can get your copy HERE.


Fu Manchu play the O2 Academy Islington on Tuesday 27 March.




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