CLUTCH was always one of those bands I meant to check out, but never did, despite seeing their t-shirts and/or stickers in many, many different places. Then, about four years ago my buddy sat me down and commanded me to listen to “Spacegrass”. At that moment, two thoughts ran through me: “Jeezus Christ, what the fuck IS this and where can I get more??” Thus was born my interest in a band who had eluded me for the better part of 20 years. And Earth Rocker was one of The Maestro’s favorites of 2013 from start to finish. So to finally get some alone time with brand new disc Psychic Warfare (out now on Weathermaker Music) made me extremely happy.
Continuing in Earth Rocker’s heavier vein once again, the songs have an overall thickness that oozes from the speakers. It’s dirty, raw, and sticky, and truly sounds like the guys just plugged in and played from the heart. There’s no gimmicks or excessive trappings here. What there ARE is riffs and more riffs, the kind that will have just about everyone of us steering wheel air strummers working overtime on the way to and from our jobs. Tracks like “Behold the Colossus”, “Sucker For the Witch”, and “Noble Savage” will appeal every bit as much to casual rockers as they will hardcore metalheads. Opener “X-Ray Visions” has vocalist Neil Fallon hitting a serious level of aggression from the very first lyric and the band follows suit, particularly guitarist Tim Sult.
“Firebird” is an excellent follow-up tune with the rhythm section of Jean-Paul Gaster (drums) and Dan Maines (bass) hurtling forward at a seemingly breakneck pace alongside Fallon and Sult. Just when you think they might crash, they navigate the tightest of turns to keep the ride going. A groovy vintage-style rocker shows up in “A Quick Death in Texas” which is also where the album was recorded and helmed once again by producer Machine. And not long after that is “Our Lady of Electric Light”, a slow, boozy number whose jangling guitars reminded me of something from a scene in a Quentin Tarantino film.
The disc closes with another riffer in “Decapitation Blues” followed by “Son of Virginia” which is so unlike any other track I was completely enthralled for all 7:15 of it. Call it a bit of a potboiler that simmers and simmers on its way to the Promised Land. That’s the thing with CLUTCH; they can bludgeon you with the heavier songs and keep you riveted on some of the darker fare. This was certainly a favorite of mine and probably some of yours, too. There’s no question that CLUTCH have done it once again, and Psychic Warfare is an album that will be on people’s minds, ears, and lips for a long time. Again, it’s out now so grab your copy today.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Son of Virginia”, “X-Ray Visions”, “Sucker For the Witch”, “Noble Savage”, “Behold the Colossus”