Clutch move effortlessly through the gears before parking a big Rock N Roll truck , slap bang on your front lawn.
Ten albums into a mighty fine career and Clutch sure as Hell show no signs of waning. In fact this is an album that will surely end up in fans top two or three releases. Essentially, it’s an album that sets out to do one thing and one thing only, Rock your nuts off and to that end it succeeds.
Right from the off with opening and title track ’Earth Rocker’ the gauntlet is laid down firmly to all pretenders “What’s this about limits? Sorry I don’t know none…” is the perfect opening line to a gloriously anthemic, hard rocking, beer swilling ditty, that shows that the band have certainly taken a heavier stance with this album than on more recent efforts. I was immediately struck by the raw, undiluted sound captured here, so much so that you can almost visualise the band playing in your front room. In particular, the drum sound has really been let off the leash and propelled to the fore, even throwing in that sorely under used Heavy Metal instrument, the cowbell, on the excellent ’D.C. Sound Attack’. That’s not to say that other elements of the band have been pushed into the background mind, far from it, ’Cruel Velocity’ and ’Unto The Breach’ for example are overflowing with infectious grooves and captivating riffs that are simply impossible to ignore, couple that with a delivery that is both warm and intense and we’re looking at one of the albums of 2013.
I must also mention the track ’Gone Cold’, planted slap bang in the middle of the album it serves as a wonderful change of both tempo and mood with its Folk, Blusey vibe, the vocal of Neil Fallon conjuring a stark, dark and cold image of loss and hopelessness “I see my footprints, how they come, how they go/ was that yesterday, or only a moment ago…”
The pace is soon picked up again though, in particular the party fuelled, foot stomping masterpiece ’Cyborg Bette’, which is guaranteed to leave you breathless. The almost psychedelic feel of ’Oh Isabella’ is executed to perfection, whilst album closer ’The Wolfman Kindly Requests..’ fair swaggers over the finish line, leaving you in awe of what you’ve just heard.
Guitarist Tim Sult says, “It might be the best Clutch album that has ever existed”, now some hardcore fans may have their own views on that quote but I would challenge anyone to find fault in this record. Clutch have succeeded in creating an album that has retained that raw, jam session feel, built around an undeniable vintage core and made it sound fresh and irresistible. Whilst the sound may be stripped bare and deliberately uncomplicated, it’s an album that has been two years in the making, the band are known for their meticulous detail when constructing songs and that process is shown to its full potential here, each track a tight, concise piece of pure Rock magic that is as close to that elusive ’live’ sound that you could ever hope to hear.
Undoubtedly one of the early contenders for album of the year, highly recommended.
1. Earth Rocker.
2. Crucial Velocity.
3. Mr Freedom.
4. D.C. Sound Attack.
5. Unto The Breach.
6. Gone Cold.
7. The Face.
8. Book, Saddle & Go.
9. Cyborg Bette.
10. Oh, Isabella.
11. The Wolfman Kindly Requests.
Neil Fallon – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar and Keyboards.
Tim Sult – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals.
Dan Maines – Bass, Backing Vocals.
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums and Percussion.
Released through Weathermaker Music on the 19th of March.