Touring with solid stoner-rock bands like Thin Lizzie and Motorhead would give anyone aspirations to become the World’s Best Rock Band. Surrounded by lots and lots of buzzing bass, furious drum and searing guitar work, lead man Neil Fallon has only to supply anthem-capable vocals, which he does in spades on this tenth album. They may have altered the genre they can currently fit into, but their music is pretty solidly rock.
Even though you know what you’re getting when you sign up for a listen, there is nothing stale or ho-hum about Clutch. Perhaps it’s their near-constant touring that keeps them in front of their fans, always hyped for the next show, but their studio work is as near to a live performance in terms of the energy and sheer driving sounds that leap off the tracklist.
Fallon’s southern accent comes through in a marvelous growley blues number, Gone Cold. Perhaps it was added to give listeners a break from the grinding of tracks like Unto The Breach, Crucial Velocity, and the title track Earth Rocker, but oddly enough it fits together well with the body of the album.
Boogie also makes a playful appearance, though its boogie with an attitude. Cyborg Bette rollicks through verses and races over the chorus; I doubt if drummer Jean-Paul Gaster would stop for anything. And Dan Maines, the bassist, states that they wanted to pick up the pace of this album ‘a little’. That is an accomplishment box they can check.
Of all of the selections, Oh, Isabella is the one I least liked, if only because it seems like the lyrics belong in a slower song and the music wants to rev up and go. The closer, The Wolfman Kindly Requests… is a blast to listen to: blistering riffs, courtesy of Tim Sult, heavy double-bass drums and a relentless bassline, it’s what all rock-n-roll songs should be. Just Rock. And roll.