Jan-Simon : Fu Manchu and stoner rock appear to be different words for the same thing. As long as there has been stoner rock, there has been Fu Manchu. I do not know if that is entirely true, but it sure feels like that. Fu Manchu, in contrast to other genre pioneers such as Kyuss, Nebula and Hermano is still very much alive and kicking. As a proof they release a new, twelfth album called ‘Clone Of The Universe’ that is in a way much more of the same, but also has a built-in special attraction called Alex Lifeson, guitar player of the legendary Rush. He contributes to the song ‘Il mostro Atomico’, an eighteen minutes long monster of rock that is quite different from the common Fu Manchu song that only seldom reaches the four minutes mark. Does that make it a freak song? No, not at all. It still is foremost fuzz rock as we kno it from Scott Hill and his companions, but there is plenty of experimentation with unexpected time shifts, special effects and science fiction imagery. The result is a remarkable mix of old fashioned stoner and (equally old fashioned) progressive alternative rock slash metal that vaguely reminds of Lifeson’s fellow Canadians Voivod. And that’s new, at least for Fu Manchu. Are you still with me?
So on ‘Clone of the Universe’ Fu Manchu follows new directions, as if after more than 25 years of desert rock it wants to take over the now vacant throne of Rush. And why not, this new direction of sorts shows at least that there is still plenty of life in the old beast and no wear. Alex Lifeson’s masterclass (and his blessing perhaps even) will undoubtedly bring new listeners to Fu Manchu, which is fine of course. Stoner rock as a genre may have had its glory moments some time ago, the oldies are stil going strong, with Fu Manchu still in the front line. Hats off!