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Clutch-Earth-RockerReleased: 2013

For every music aficionado out there, there’s a band they follow, usually an underground kind of band who receive very little radio play or media coverage but somehow manage to make a career out of playing music no one really hears. There are two types of this band: the band you want to keep all to yourself and tell no one about, and the band you want all your mates to know about. Clutch are very much the latter.

Formed in 1990 in Maryland, Clutch have been rocking riffs as heavy as the apocalypse all over the USA and Europe for over twenty years now, but their music sounds as fresh as day one. For years they’ve been the underground band of choice and over the past few years, mostly through word of mouth, they’ve finally been acknowledged as a serious tour de force in the hard rock economy.

Combining stoner/hard rock with blues and heavy metal, Clutch have crafted a unique sound where crushing guitars and the thunder of drums pound so hard that you’d be forgiven for thinking this music was crafted in the middle of an avalanche.

Their new album, the aptly named Earth Rocker continues in the same vein as all their previous releases, but like AC/DC, most would be disappointed if they did deviate from their traditional sound. That’s not to say that Clutch don’t push the limits though. Being heavily experimental in unusual time signatures, re-working classic blues tunes and vocalist Neil Fallon’s distinct groove-laden melodies, these guys are very much the thinking man’s rock music.

The ferocity of opening one-two punch Earth Rocker and Crucial Velocity will floor you in minutes and the record doesn’t let up until the last chords of The Wolf Man Kindly Requests (possibly one of the greatest song names you’ll hear this year) have rumbled past in a brutal stampede of the aforementioned wolves. The albums highlight is probably DC Sound Attack! which features Fallon’s vocal chords rasping so proudly it’s likely you’ll be growing a beard as epic as his by the end of the song…whether male or female.

What Clutch have in abundance is groove. They play like they mean it, and as such there isn’t a bad tune on the album. When listened to live their music must be nothing short of an atomic bomb on the senses, and is most definitely where the songs will take on a life of their own. The production is neat but still allows the band to let rip and make the songs breathe the heaviness they bestow. Clutch will no doubt continue their ascent with this record, possibly the most anticipated of their career, and deservedly so. Beg, borrow or steal a copy before the actual apocalypse gives them a run for their money.

★★★★★

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