My first encounter with Clawfinger was at the Roskilde Festival back in ’93 when they were completely new on the scene, and I was taken by surprise in a blast of a concert, probably the best on the festival that year. So when they came back the following year, I was there too. A very convincing live band with hell of a drive and power.
Their style of mixing rap/spoken vocals with hard, groovy, crunchy and stomping guitar riffs and samples was in its prime back then (this was years before bands like Soilwork, Rammstein and the likes emerged), and though I was never into rap, this Swedish/Norwegian band caught my attention. Their two first albums: “Deaf, Dumb, Blind” and “Use Your Brain” have become classics in my metal collection.
After the first few albums they had a down period (at least for me, but I think in general too) and didn’t make any records between ’97 and ’01, and since then they’ve made one every two years. I bought a couple of them, but they didn’t quite get my attention the way the first two did, in my opinion they didn’t have the same level of energy.
Then how about this new album – how does Clawfinger anno 2007 sound like – have they outlived themselves now that a lot of other bands are doing something similar or having developed the style? Have they been attacked by “metal fatigue” or do they still have something to say and new riffs and ideas to bring to the scene? With this album I must answer both yes and no to the questions above…
Some of the new material is in the well known Clawfinger-style mentioned above, groovy and crunchy, like the opener “The Price We Pay”, the more straight-rocker “None The Wiser” and the last song on the album “Carnivore”, which have an industrial-like feel, and this is where they in my opinion still are the strongest. There’s a couple of other good tracks on the album, the shuffle-boogie-like “Prisoners” and “The Cure And The Poison” that reminds me a bit of Rammstein.
But there are also some numbers that falls through, with riffs that I’ve seem to have heard before (from other bands), or that seems uninspired and superficial, sometimes even monotonous, musically and/or lyrically, like the lyrically quite banal title track, “Final Stand” that are supposed to be a religious extremists/suicide bombers own story, and “Little Baby”, a song about incest from the victims point of view, that melodically reminds me of Enya or Depeche Mode (yack!!) – they lack the satirical or ironical bite that some of Clawfingers best lyrics have, and come of too primitive or uninspired - at best they are to be seen as fillers!
All in all an album with some strong, but also some quite weak songs – I’d like to see if Clawfinger is still that strong an act on stage, as I remember them to be. Then they could play a few tracks from this album, but I’d definitely prefer the weight on the old stuff.
Recommended tracks: “The Price We Pay”, “Prisoners”, “None The Wiser”, “The Cure and the Poison” and “Carnivore”.