Somewhere out there in the commercial wasteland of cookie-cutter bands that share the same approach to terrible songwriting, production value, studio sensibility, and trite radio singles, is Maryland’s shining sons, Clutch. Thank the sweet lord for you, Clutch. Perhaps the hardest working heavy band in the world, this fine quartet have brought a fresh, yet very Clutch-like album to the new year. Yes, there is reason to be excited when we live in an age of bands like Clutch, Baroness, Opeth, Mastodon, and The Sword all putting out prolific new albums.
Clutch once again bring their trademark hard rock approach to the table, and it’s, of course, infused with fast, groovy, wah-dripping guitars, Neil’s LSD-dosed rapid wolverine style of lyric writing, and something most heavy bands should take notes on; drummer JP Gaster, and bassist, Dan Maines force you to feel the strong back beat of an actual rhythm section. These guys deliver an unusual sound that’s hard to accurately describe. Somewhere within metal, hard rock. blues, funk, soul, and a sound that makes my hours and hours of comic book reading come to life with a score of their own. I’m telling you, break out some Deadpool or The Legend of Luther Strode, and your comic has its own soundtrack.
Clutch wrote a large amount of the new material on the road with Thin LIzzy and the unfathomable Motorhead. If you ask me – the time made a marked impression on the band. Fully realized with the heavy space-rock mentality and constant barrage of heavy 70’s riffs. Right out of the gates is the title track Earth Rocker, a heavy balls to the wall track that reminds you why you choose this full-frontal option to start with. Next, the crushing Crucial Velocity sounds like something inspired by the film Looper. Add the dance-friendly grooves from tracks like Mr. Freedom, with its big chorus hanging behind ringing power chords, and it’s clear that peaking is nowhere on their radar.
My two favorites thus far are the last two tracks Oh, Isabella, and The Wolfman Kindly Requests. Seething with trippy licks at the hands of guitarist, Time Sult, his rhythmic solos pan reverb-heavy vintage effects from ear to ear when enjoying this with nice noise-cancelling headphones – something you’re going to want to own (as well as maybe a little herbal stimulation) to full sit back and enjoy this amazing new album. Neil states in the title track, “I will suffer no evil. My guitar will guide me through.”, and that’s exactly what you can expect from this amalgam of contemporary rock interwoven with 40 years of hard rock mentality. Clutch has never failed to craft ballistic new music at every stop in their storied career and Earth Rocker is not only bad ass – we all expected nothing less – and we are never disappointed.
I had the pleasure of interviewing drummer, JP Gaster on the second night of their kickoff tour in December. You can listen by clicking on THIS link. He gives a pretty fucking true explanation as to why Clutch and craft beer share very similar threads and why bands like Nickelback and cookie-cutter songwriting and production are par for the course in this often times repugnant time for music. Give it a listen, but more importantly, GO BUY THIS FUCKING ALBUM! It releases worldwide on Tuesday, March 19th.