I know what you’re thinking. Fu Manchu on a prog site?? Well hang on there. First off, I’ve loved this band since 1999’s “King of the Road.” They have that desert rock sound that Kyuss did and I loved Kyuss. There’s an “epicness” to bands like this. The riffs are big, the hooks are strong and there’s an arid atmosphere that I love. They even have a bit of a Hawkwind vibe over the last few albums which also works for me!
Secondly on their latest album “Clone of the Universe,” Fu Manchu are joined by Alex Lifeson of Rush on one track. And not just any track. “Il Mostro Atomico” is the 18 minute epic closer on the album that is not only the longest track they’ve done but in my opinion, it’s the definite Fu Manchu song…along with being the ultimate song from the whole genre. There, I said it.
So yes “”Clone of the Universe” is worth it for that song alone. It’s mostly instrumental, in fact almost entirely. And the solos that Lerxst trades with the band are fucking amazing. An 18 minute song is only great if you never realize how long it is. When the song ends, you are not only blown away but you say to yourself “that was already 18 minutes?”
But the album has 6 songs before that one, including the very catchy title track (a favorite) and the quick blast of “Don’t Panic.” While Fu Manchu have a specific sound that (for me) is instantly recognizable, there’s a variety of tracks on “Clone of the Universe” that explore each part of their sound. One key has always been the voice of Scott Hill. No one sounds like him for better or worse! I like his voice because I know it’s him and thus, I know it’s Fu Manchu.
“Clone of the Universe” is without a doubt one of Fu Manchu’s best albums and if you’ve never listened to them, it’s definitely a great place to start. Rush fans sound definitely enjoy hearing Lerxst cut loose on a track since Rush has officially disbanded. Alex did say he was guesting on other band’s albums and Fu Manchu are one of those lucky bands!
1. Intelligent Worship
2. (Ive Been) Hexed
3. Don’t Panic
4. Slower Than Light
5. Nowhere Left To Hide
6. Clone of the Universe
7. Il Mostro Atomico