CLUTCH – ‘Earth Rocker’

clutchCLUTCH – ‘Earth Rocker’
Maryland veterans Clutch have a reputation to justify and with 9 albums already notched since their inception back in 1990, album number 10 will do that reputation no harm at all.  Keeping up the grand traditions they’ve worked so hard to build – heating up brutally simplistic desert rock with a white hot intensity and a warped melodic centre – they’ve added an album that delivers a psyched up sense of urgency with overwhelming shots of venomous adrenaline.  Standing at the centre of chaos and battering out splintered riffs and skeleton rythmns has been their proposition ever since Elephant Riders and Pure Rock Fury exploded off the horizon back in the late 90’s early naughties.  Neil Fallon’s cowboy swagger pushed way up front, this is American hard-rock at its very best and refreshingly surprising.  Some would say they’d lost their way a little in the mid naughties, with the slightly insipid Robot Hive and From Beale STreet To Oblivion.  But with Earth Rocker they’ve rediscovered a much sought after mojo that should blast them back into everyone’s stratosphere, with straight up rockers such as the title track opener, ‘Mr Freedom’, ‘Unto The Breach’ and the excellent ‘The Face’.  Somewhere in the midst of the carnage is ‘Gone Cold’, a languid stoner groove that Fallon speaks sings his way through and as disconcerting and alien as it might sound, its the resting place halfway through a marathon assault.  Nothing else pauses for breath as ‘Cyborg Bette’ and ‘Oh, Isabelle’ take the biker groove of Monster Magnet, distort it and bruise it, Fallon yelping like a man in the grip of dementia, alongside some serious six string action thats capable of shifting worlds and aligning planets.  Brilliant closer ‘The Wolfman Kindly Requests…’ is an apocalyptic tone-rocker with a bleeding heart and an exhausting conclusion to the first ‘Real’ stoner/grunge/metal/rock album of 2013.  It’s been four years too long in the making, but well worth the wait. Welcome back boys!  (9)
STEVE FLETCHER

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