Clutch - Earth Rocker
Weathermaker Music
Stoner/Hard Rock
11 songs (44:21)
Release year: 2013
Clutch, Weathermaker Music
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Among the many things that we have to give praise to Thin Lizzy for is returning Clutch to the light. On a tour with them and Motorhead, the band realised that there was a lack of decent, straight-up rock n’ roll coming out these days, and promptly reversed course on the bluesy meanderings that led to the decent but dull Strange Cousins from the West. The results, as you can hear from tenth full-length Earth Rocker, are admirably blunt, reintroducing the stoner elements that helped make past albums like Blast Tyrant so good and making this a heavy, infectiously rocking album. It’s not perfect, by any means, but it’s a grower that gets better as you move from song to song – the straightforward opening title track is decent, heavy and with some fun vocal noises (literally!) from Neil Fallon but unspectacular in the fullness of things.

The following Crucial Velocity is an improvement, building up to a typical Clutch stomper with focus on the vocals, yet it’s Mr Freedom where things really take off, a stunningly catchy groove launching with Fallon in full ranty flow, and a great bit of soloing from Tim Sult capping it off. The following DC Sound Attack! continues the improvement, a backing harmonica riff adding something of a southern-fried tinge to the already superbly rocking tuneage. Consistently notably is the energy and hunger of the band, firing on all gears and not wanting to let up because they’re having too much fun – little touches like the yelled ‘go!’ before the instrumental section of Unto the Breach feeling spontaneous and enjoyable.

Pausing the action in the centre of the album is Gone Cold, a laid-back, almost spaghetti western piece, all strummed guitar and with some lyrics spoken rather than sung. Clutch would make superb film scorers, it has to be said, the gentle murmur of this track terrifically atmospheric and leaving you wanting more. That the doom-drenched The Face follows instead is no bad thing, however, all big riffs and apocalyptic yells, with some of drummer Jean-Paul Gaster’s best work on the album. On balance, the second half of the album is better than the first, the likes of Book Saddle and Go and Cyborg Bette solid rockers that don’t drag or feel like the band are playing it too safe. The lengthy, fuzzy instrumental section of Oh Isabella is a real highlight, as is the closing werewolf-themed rocking of The Wolf Man Kindly Requests…

I have to mention the production – the instruments all sound great, the guitars having a suitably intense level of fuzz and the drums and bass doing the lord’s work as they should. The producer for this album was Machine, who also handled the band’s Blast Tyrant and Pure Rock Fury albums, and he seems to have brought a little of his past magic to bear here again, as this is the best Clutch have sounded in years. I hesitate before calling it up to the quality of past albums, but it’s a solid return to form and a great rock n’roll album. Mission completed, then.

Killing Songs :
DC Sound Attack!, Unto the Breach, Gone Cold, The Face, Cyborg Bette, Oh Isabella, The Wolf Man Kindly Requests…
Goat quoted 81 / 100
Other albums by Clutch that we have reviewed:
Clutch - Robot Hive / Exodus reviewed by Goat and quoted 94 / 100
Clutch - Strange Cousins From The West reviewed by Goat and quoted 77 / 100
Clutch - Blast Tyrant reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
Clutch - From Beale Street To Oblivion reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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