Impressive vocals and lyrics throughout
Clutch’s twelfth album, Book of Bad Decisions, may not be the best album the group has ever released, but it’s still a worthy addition to their large catalog. The group, consisting of Neil Fallon on vocals and guitar, Tim Sult on guitar, Dan Maines on bass and Jean-Paul Gaster on drums, has had a long and successful career since forming in 1991. Each song on Book of Bad Decisions is unique and different from the others, making it an album that is both cohesive and eclectic. Fallon’s vocals, along with the poignant lyrics each song has, make Book of Bad Decisions a good, solid record.
The album starts with “Gimme the Keys,” a hard rock song with lyrics that almost seem to be relating the memories the speaker is having to the end of times. “Gravel and locust, they swore to rope us / We did our best to steer straight / Trailer and hitch, straight into the ditch / Praying to Jesus and the Holy Saints.” Though not the best song on the album, it does kick it into gear due to its fast pace. Another early and notable song is the title song of “Book of Bad Decisions.” The vocals are speaking-like, and there is a blues-like influence to the sound of the song as a whole. It’s a catchy song, due to repeating phrases, and an amazing guitar solo about halfway through. It’s obvious why it was chosen as the title song for the album, as it shows the range of talent of the group perfectly.
Some other notable songs on Book of Bad Decisions are “Vision Quest,” “A Good Fire” and “Hot Bottom Feeder.” “Vision Quest” stands out thanks to Fallon’s absolutely fantastic vocals. His voice reaches impressive ranges while keeping pace with the fast-paced and loud instruments in the song. It’s a fun song that will surely be a hit. “A Good Fire” stands out thanks to Gaster’s drumbeat that kicks it off. The lyrics as well are important, as they again have potential deeper meaning. “No longer trees do stand / Sycamore oak and ash / Nothing in this world can ever last / Can ever last.” Finally, “Hot Bottom Feeder” is a much more subdued song, with lower vocals, and some great guitar riffs. It’s not your traditional hard rock song, nor does it have the blues feeling some of the other songs have, making it unique in its own right.
Book of Bad Decisions ends with “Lorelei,” an ominous-sounding song with a marching-like drumbeat in the beginning and another example of Fallon’s impressive vocal range. His voice is deep at first, adding to the creepy feeling of the song, before launching into some screaming vocals. The song changes throughout, going between the slower and faster vocals, continuing to showcase the band’s talents.