As one of the faces on Stoner Rock’s Mount Rushmore, Neil Fallon deserves to rest on every laurel he’s earned. Fortunately for us, he’s never been one to sit still. Instead, the Clutch frontman has always been willing to mentor up-and-coming bands and lend his vocals to established acts.
Known for the fire in his belly and the stage presence of a prophet, Neil Fallon’s voice has always impressed on albums, and that’s been true for his guest appearances as well.
To honor Fallon’s contributions to other bands in and out of the Stoner Rock space, we’ve compiled his best work with other groups to date:
9. ‘Empire’s End’ – Dozer
Song: “Empire’s End”
Album: Beyond Colossal
We’ve always thought it was appropriate to describe Dozer’s trademark sound as fuzz-drenched melodies launched through a wood chipper. It doesn’t look like a recipe for success on paper, but the Swedish band pulled it off in Call it Conspiracy (2003) and Through the Eyes of Heathens (2006). In both albums, the band was smart enough to push Fredrik Nordin’s vocals into the limelight, balancing the band’s rougher edges with his sleek vocals. That’s not the case in Beyond Colossal. The entire album is darker than anything else Dozer has ever written, and this is partly thanks to the hazier mixing. When Fallon finally takes the microphone on “Empire’s End,” his rich vocals are drowned out in the rest of the production. Talk about a blunder. Most brands bring Neil Fallon into the studio say, “Everyone, sit down and shut up. We’re about to learn you something special.” But “Empire’s End” doesn’t play Neil Fallon to his strengths. Instead, the song rushes forward, leaving Fallon’s voice in the shadows of the song’s final 50 seconds.
8. ‘Two Coins for Eyes’ – Dozer
Song: “Two Coins for Eyes”
Album: Beyond Colossal
Lucky for Dozer, they had two at-bats with Neil in Beyond Colossal, and they dialed it in a little closer for “Two Coins for Eyes.” Instead of pushing Fallon’s vocals back behind raging drums, the band pushes Fallon closer to the forefront, relying on his strength as a singer to ride the song forward. The result: It’s a better tune than “Empire’s End,” but it’s still only good enough to grab the 8th spot on our list.
7. ‘Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla’ – Soulfly
Song: “Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla”
Soulfly’s “Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla” puts Neil Fallon into the Thrash Metal limelight. With crunching guitars that pulse through your skull, the song is similar to something you might find on Pitchfork and Lost Needles, like “Arcadia” or “Juggernaut.” Interestingly, after six minutes of fitting in with the groove, Neil the Orator takes center stage, delivering a tale in a cadence similar to “Gone Cold.”
6. ‘Mummies Wrapped in Money’ – Lionize
Song: “Mummies Wrapped in Money”
Album: Mummies Wrapped in Money EP
Lionize are obvious Clutch disciples, but they bring an extra ingredient to the table: Reggae. The extra element has always added a certain lightness to their music, and “Mummies Wrapped in Money” is no exception. You’ll have to listen to the entire song to catch Neil: He comes in around the 2:50 mark and raps about mummies and ancient Egypt.
5. ‘Blood and Thunder’ – Mastodon
Song: “Blood and Thunder”
It’s easy to miss Fallon’s vocals on Mastodon’s musical bullet train of testosterone. Amid the raging guitars and pounding drums, Fallon lowers his natural bluesy drawl to a metallic growl, delivering an onslaught of fire and brimstone. Not a bad look for him.
4. ‘Transistors of Mercy’ – Polkadot Cadaver
Song: “Transistors of Mercy”
Album: Last Call in Jonestown
Artist: Polkadot Cadaver
Perhaps the most interesting track on this list, “Transistors of Mercy” is a combination of White Zombie-styled synthesizers and The Company Band Hard Rock. A chilling, dark song filled with doom and guitars, “Transistors of Mercy” is worth a couple of listens.
3. ‘Slipping Out’ – Never Got Caught
Song: “Slipping Out”
Artist: Never Got Caught
Never Got Caught’s “Slipping Out” reaches back to Clutch’s earlier, funkier roots. With its rhythmic lyrics, the delivery is more Zach de la Rocha than Neil Fallon on “Careful With That Mic…” The layered vocals come with Neil Fallon at some of his most prophetic, reminiscent of “Arcadia” or “Far Country” from Pitchfork and Lost Needles.
2. ‘Crazy Horses’ – Throat
Song: “Crazy Horses”
Album: Crazy Horses (Single)
When The Osmonds released “Crazy Horses” in 1972, the song was basically a Heavy Metal riff with saccharin tendencies—from a group that mainly specialized in Pop and Soft Rock. Throat ripped all the fluff out of “Crazy Horses” and ramped up the Metal, delivering fun, explosive energy that’s perfectly balanced by Neil Fallon’s enormous vocals.
1. ‘Die to Live’ – Volbeat
Song: “Die to Live”
Album: Rewind, Replay, Rebound
Danish rockers Volbeat combine Rock, Rockabilly, and Heavy Metal in their songs, and “Die to Live” is no exception. Rocketing incessantly forward with an infectious beat and attitude, Neil Fallon’s Appalachian mountain growl is the perfect complement to “Die to Live” and its enormous big band feel.