We have often presented compilation albums here on this column, as we don’t care if the release is a studio, a live or a combo record, as long as it has the quality to fit with the other weird or forgotten cuts. Clutch’s ‘Slow Hole to China: Rare and Unreleased’ turns almost 15 years old and it is a collection consisting of various previously unreleased recording of songs (that have been extensively bootlegged over the years), cover versions and some of the rare singles by the band. It also has some ‘alternate’ earlier versions of songs that were released on albums in a different format to what was originally recorded. The songs were recorded in a period of 4 years, from 1998 to 2002, and since 2003 that was originally released (the album was released on CD by River Road Records, and 3,000 copies were printed on 12″ LP by Emetic Records, with 2,000 of these regular black vinyl, while 1,000 were rare red marble vinyl), the band has since released a remastered reissue of the album on April 28, 2009 (via River Road Records and Emetic Records), re-titled low ‘Hole to China: Rare and Re-Released’. A new version was released in 2015 once again via River Road Records. And some of you may think that this is a rip-off release that tried to milk the fans of Clutch. Fallon, Gaster, Maines and Sult made it big right because they always acted with an attitude ‘from the boys to the boys’. A dozen (the original 2003 version, as the remastered 2009 version has three extra tracks, “Hale Bopp Blues” “Ship of Gold (West Virginia)” and “King of Arizona”) of classic stoner gems with futuristic (and mostly entertaining) lyrics, groovy tempo and solid rhythm section that despite the fact that aren’t on a regular studio album, still have the flow and stream of unrelenting straight-up rocking tracks that will please every fan of the band and the genre. The signature sound of Clutch is 100% present and while Fallon’s vocals dominates the huge choruses, we can see clearly that it is the perfect chemistry of the early albums music approaching, Fallon’s throat and the stuffed up, distorted guitars that create this sludgy and cheerful result. Highlights are: the cover on Pink Floyd’s song “Money” (for the cover album ‘Sucking the 70’s’, which was released October 8, 2002), ‘Guild of Mute Assassins’, ‘Sea of Destruction’, ‘Easy Breeze,’ ‘Hoodo Operator,’ and ‘Day Of The Jackalope’.