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Clutch – Earth Rocker

Weathermaker Music 2013
Clutch - Earth Rocker

It’s been said that you’re never too old to rock n’ roll—if that’s the case then consider Clutch living proof. With their tenth studio album “Earth Rocker“, the long-running outfit have assembled what is perhaps their most concise and revved up collection of songs to date. A rollicking assortment of good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll grit torqued for maximum performance.

Brimming with vigor, these groove-laden tracks are an undeniable force. A near constant stream of forward momentum and rugged grace that instantly melts off the excess pounds accrued during the bands recent years of blues and jam based ventures. Simply put, this is Clutch with the pedal pinned to the floor.

Boasting some of their most direct and incendiary material to date, “Earth Rocker” as a whole is razor sharp. Whether it be in the smug demeanor of Neil Fallon‘s vocal delivery and his riled up hobo prophet lyrics; the searing whirlwind of surprisingly solo-heavy guitar work; the shrewd slinky/abrasive duality of the bass; or the impressively bombastic drumming—every instrument is purposeful and fits together with seasoned craftsmanship.

An almost entirely straight-forward assault, it’s certainly a leaner take on the trademark Clutch sound. But it’s not without its hallmarks and surprises. The ripping blues harp (or harmonica as it were) serves as a nice nod to “Electric Worry” on the thunderous “D.C. Sound Attack“—a cut which expertly showcases just how deep drummer Jean-Paul Gaster‘s pockets can go.

In fact, it is often Gaster‘s locktight grooves that steal the spotlight. Even when he is at his most rudimentary he still manages to shine. Just look to the numbing rumble of his deafening floor tom hits on “Book, Saddle & Go” for clear proof of that. The rhythm section may be heavy on horsepower, but a considerable amount of credit must also go towards the bands decision to re-team with producer Machine. His low-end enriched production style adds serious oomph to the fray, granting the songs serious impact.

With only one or two tracks present that adopt a slower pace, Clutch hit a consistent stride here and make the most of it. If anything this is their most raucous and direct performance in years. The rowdy spark of their youth has been reignited, leaving “Earth Rocker” magma hot.

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