In our opinion, Clutch just don’t do bad albums. Some are better than others, but judging by standards of other bands who we will not mention, the Maryland groove masters can’t put a foot wrong. Standout albums of the bands career would be the desert stoner crushing sophomore “Clutch” that had belters such as “Texan Book Of The Dead” and “Escape From The Prison Planet” and their undeniably incredible “Blast Tyrant” that is home to stone cold classics such as Cypress Groove, Profits Of Doom, Promoter and the anthem that is The Mob Goes Wild.
In fact, the bands career has seen them release a consistent flurry of albums from Transnational Speedway League in 1993 to their most recent Earth Rocker being their tenth opus.
Anticipation on the first listen to this album was bubbling over as the first track and album title “Earth Rocker” came crashing out of the office speakers. A solid, driving, up-tempo jam, laced with Neil Fallon’s words dripping with the swagger and talent that most vocalists would kill for. The instant connection of the chorus “I’m an earth rocker, everybody hear me now” creates a want and need to see this song live, even on the first listen! “Crucial Velocity” which is the first track to be released from the album, bursts out of the traps and packed to the hilt with attitude and loaded with catchy snarling wha pedal infused riffs from the always amazing Tim Sult.
It’s pretty clear that there is no let up on this record, as the tracks just keep coming at the listener with rolling, up beat tempo slabs of smoking hot blues driven groove. One of the standout tracks on the album has to be “D.C Soundattack”. Folks, this is a instant bezerker of a tune and will be on repeat for the foreseeable future on the office sound system. Loaded with just everything that represents Clutch at being top of their game and ready for world domination, DC Soundattack has it all. The swagger, the undeniable brilliance of rhythm section heroes, drummer Jean Paul Gaster and bassist Dan Maines really shine through on this track and overall throughout the album.
Earth Rocker just keeps getting better with “Unto the Breach” displaying another fine performance of Fallon’s brilliant lyrics and emotional connection with the music. Just over halfway through the album the pace finally gives up with a chance to take a breather with “Gone Cold”, a slightly gentle pace with a sense of absence and down on your luck vibe. This track has a beautiful sound and is just a reminder that just as much as Clutch can rock the living shit out of anyone and anything, they can also write subtle atmospheric music that doesn’t involve distortion or rapid tempos, but can still be as heavy and thought provoking, evoking the pure essence of what Clutch really are, just a fantastic group of individuals who have an incredible talent for writing great music.
The amps are back to 11 on “The Face” and the galloping beats return with “Book, Saddle and Go” which sees Dan Maines dominate with the deep rumble overtones of his bass. “Cyborg Bette” charges forward bringing the album back to the pace of it’s opening numbers before the incredible “Oh , Isabella” drips drifts through the air with connotations of Thin Lizzy and early AC/DC. A heart soaring chorus during this song shows a beautiful chord selection that requires a few repeats to satisfy the need to feed your ears.
Album closer “The Wolf Man Kindly Requests..” has a steady groove with a great chorus seeing some well constructed time changes that flow effortlessy around the rhythm of Fallon’s lyrics and the dinging of Gaster’s ride cymbal.
All in all, Earth Rocker is a fine album that literally has not a bad tune on it. I believe the phrase is “all killer, no filler” well, we would have to agree most definitely. Not only are the songs well written, executed with the staple Clutch style and dripping with unstoppable groove and swagger, but the album itself has to be one of the most well produced sounding records that has hit the Overdrive office in a very, very long time. The star of the album in our case has to be the amazing talent of drummer Jean Paul Gaster who just amazes with his stunning display of loose grooves and not to over the top drumming.
You can’t help but feel that Clutch simply play their hearts out on this record and really care about what they do and how to inject each band members personality into every track. Overdrive predicts that this record will make the top five ‘best of” lists throughout the rock community global press and will no doubt escalate the bands overall profile to a much wider audience. As much as we really want this to happen for the band, we can’t help but not share this treasure in the hope that we can see Clutch play the venues where you are up close and personal. An outstanding album and a must have for anyone that understands what good music is.
Earth Rocker released on March 19th via Weather Maker Music