Clawfinger

Two Sides

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The fine remixes and forgettable unreleased tracks of Two Sides are demonstrative of Clawfinger's influence on and eventual developmental failure at '90s industrial rock. The Swedish group had the talent needed to flourish in the hybrid genre they were instrumental in developing, but as their consistently downward-moving sales suggests, Clawfinger never captured the kind of audience that more market-attuned industrial metal practitioners like Marilyn Manson and White Zombie eventually attracted. Despite their leadership position, it took Clawfinger years to slide some subtle ornamentation into their mechanized guitar dirge, like the angular Eastern instrumentation of "Two Sides" originally featured on their 1999 eponymous release. White Zombie had already worked a similiar angle on their breakout 1995 disc, Astro Creep: 2000 -- Songs of Love, Destruction, tarnishing many of Clawfinger's latter-day sonic enhancements. When Two Sides remixers like Godhead and Pitchshifter bring some of the right electronic ideas to Clawfinger's powerful guitar chunk, the music breaks wide open, revealing complexities and dynamics that the Swedes should have thought of themselves years before. The original mixes of unreleased material are basically substandard entries featuring vocalist Zak Tell's stiff rapping. Industrial fans weaned on Al Jourgensen's holler or Trent Reznor's whine, and '90s hip-hop sophisticates used to fluid counterpoint rhyming, will almost certainly and passionately eschew Tell's angry Will Smith-like flow. Listeners fond of Clawfinger will want to check out the remixes, but Two Sides shouldn't ignite much interest outside the circle of industrial metal completists.

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