on 21 August 2001
The music industry sucks. The proof of this is the way Clutch are virtually unheard of while vastly inferior bands like Papa Roach become hailed as rock gods. When having to record each of their 6 albums (this was the first) on a different record label many lesser bands would have given up ages ago. Fortunately for those in the know, Clutch are in it for the music. The music Clutch make is free from gimmicks and passing fashions - it is pure, heavy rock music driven by a thunderous rhythm section and a bear-like singer. The best songs are "Shogun Named Marcus" and "Walking In The Great Shining Path Of The Monster Trucks" but picking out individual songs is doing the album as a whole an disservice. And if you ever get a chance to see them live, do yourself a favour and go. You won't regret it.
Clutch's debut full length studio album `Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes, And Undeniable Truths,' was released in 1993 as the band began their career with the same line-up that would grace every single release of theirs to date (minus the keyboards) Dan Maines, Tim Sult, J.P Gastor and frontman Neil Fallon are all present on this record, showing flourishes of the incredible band that they would soon become.
Being the band's early nineties debut, obviously in terms of production it was less polished than any other Clutch release (although songs from this album sound great on their live albums) and in addition to the production; Neil Fallon's vocal style is almost unrecognisable to his trademark style found on the rest of their albums.
Musically; most of the material on this album was very different to that on subsequent albums as well, there is a more obvious hard-core influence and much less blues and country in the overall sound. Fans who got into the band on more recent albums may out and out dislike the direction here, or take many listens to acclimatize to it.
Stand out tracks include `A Shogun Named Marcus,' and `Rats,' both of which are often played live, as well as `Walking In The Great Shining Paths Of Monster Trucks.'
Even though a lot of the music and most of the vocals may be off-putting for newer Clutch fans; Lyrically the album fully formed Clutch stylistically and a lot of the drum fills and the solos here and there help it from sounding like completely different band.
Overall; Transnational Speedway League is definitely not the go-to album for Clutch beginners, and if you are new to the band you should really look elsewhere for a first album. While it is a fair album in its own right, it sounds so different from what the band became that you probably shouldn't start with it.
If you are an existing fan however and want to hear where the band came from and how they began; while you won't find yourself listening to it as much as their other albums, there is enough good material to warrant a purchase or curiosity listen. However, definitely try if you like Clutch's heaviest moments.
on 28 March 2008
As debut albums go,this is one clinker hey,a finely tuned riff monster with bite,swagger,aggression and pretty inclement at times,this of course isnt the sound of clutch these days,well,not really,but here it works and this was 1993 when this was released so the band were still working on their sound and at times there is an almost alice in chains sound here but thats not as shocking as it seems being that this was the era of grunge and while this is not a grunge album the album has a sound from that era in parts.
Neil fallons vocals are part scowl,part growl and certainly different from the southern drawl he would master later on,he just has attitude stapled to his tonsils here as he lets rip,and it is wise to know that this album isnt a groove fest at all either,more heavy in style without the kickstart groove n' roll that they would make their own,now that you know this then you should know this,this is one beast of an album,packed with great tracks that go for the throat as much as possible,'herirloom 13' brings the proceedings to a more calming effect but for the most part this is a swirling ride of metal like riffs squashed down with melody and clever lyrics but there is that anger that makes this a pretty different clutch,but one thing remains the same,this is a fine clutch album yet again.
on 21 April 2014
I love Clutch's newer albums like Earth Rocker and Beale Street, but these old ones are much more difficult to get into, as I find them quite strange. However, with multiple listening's I have grown to really like it. I would not recommend starting here if new to Clutch as it may put you off, but it is a must for any long time fan, being the first album they released.
on 23 March 2010
this is a great album, my favourite song being a shogun named marcus but its really different and will take me a long time to get used to. it does not sound like neil fallon very much either but i dont know if thats for the better or worse. certainly a great album but i just prefer their newer sound