Clutch
Earth Rocker


5.0
classic

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
March 10th, 2013 | 382 replies | 46,217 views


Release Date: 03/20/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Clutch burst with renewed vitality on their tenth album.

In the title track of Earth Rocker Neil Fallon proudly proclaims: “I will suffer no evil. My guitar will guide me through.” This statement makes for an ideal motto for Maryland-based Clutch, who show no signs of stopping. After their two previous records, it seemed that the foursome would pursue their chosen path of vintage blues rock. This certainly is not the case with their tenth full-length Earth Rocker which takes an unexpected turn towards the style of the act's greatest endeavors regarded by many as stoner rock benchmarks. As a result, the album captures Clutch at their heaviest, fastest and most streamlined, not only on the strength of the band's focused vision, but also due to the contribution of their former producer Machine who opts for a massive, yet distinctly warm sound.

All songs glimmer with a renewed zest for crafting ferocious tunes, and the songwriting that propels Earth Rocker is remarkably efficient, combining many elements that made Blast Tyrant and Robot Hive/Exodus so coveted in the first place. On a predominantly guitar-centered album, Tim Sult steals the show with a multitude of memorable riffs that oscillate between thundering, groove-laden and spaced-out. His standout performance comes with cinematic “Oh, Isabella” where his powerful leads are superbly juxtaposed with tremendous psychedelic soloing. Dan Maines' clunky bass lines are more prominent in the mix than ever before, often counterpointing Jean-Paul Gaster whose performance behind the drum kit feels both hard-hitting and inventive. The fist-pumping, Southern rock stomp of “D.C. Sound Attack!” makes great use of cowbell, while the double shuffle technique highlights bouncy “Book, Saddle, And Go.”

The outfit's penchant for integrating massive grooves with infectious choruses and superb transitions is in full swing. Whether it's the anthemic vibe of the title track, ominous guitar tones of “Crucial Velocity” or the danceable groove of “Mr. Freedom,” Clutch excel in keeping their presentation intense, yet familiar for everyone who's acquainted with their previous work. One obvious deviation from the heavy rock formula is the rootsy folk balladry of “Gone Cold” that interestingly breaks the album in half. Another cut that reaches beyond the act's comfort zone is the closer “The Wolf Man Kindly Requests...” which marvelously displays jam rock tendencies with its jarring shifts and no-frills lyrics.

Neil Fallon's presence has always equipped Clutch's albums with loads of personality, and Earth Rocker is no exception. Fallon injects many sing-along choruses with a palpable sense of bravado, yet he's prone to break his signature flow every now and again. For instance, “Unto The Breach” feels like his own spin on rap music at points due to his broken delivery style. As regards the lyrics, Fallon continues to tackle a plethora of themes that overflow with his uniquely personal vision and culture-inspired poetry. Mid-paced “The Face” is an absolutely astounding pro-rock anthem that sports such lines as: “One thousand Les Pauls burning in a field/What rabid religion poisons their minds?/One thousand Jazzmasters thrown into the sea/What measure of madness governs their time?”

In its essence, Earth Rocker is a rollicking heavy rock ride that showcases Clutch at the peak of their collective talents. With a fan-pleasing alteration in style and 'no-filler, all-killer' logic, the outfit have put out one of their most widely appealing albums thus far, not to mention a staple release for stoner rock in 2013.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2013



4383 Comments


Beautiful work, Greg. I've yet to find time to hear this, but I am excited to see how it turned out. It sounds great from the live videos they've made.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2013



7321 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks Hernan. It makes a strong case for Pure Rock Fury not being any more in my top 3 Clutch records, and I freakin' love that album.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

Titan
March 10th 2013



4799 Comments


Review is spot on and this album is f*%king awesome

DatsNotDaMetulz
March 10th 2013



1717 Comments


Is it streaming anywhere?

Underflow
March 10th 2013



2527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This album is fantastic. It's definitely their best since Blast Tyrant. It just rocks so hard.

tempest--
March 10th 2013



12652 Comments


Fantastic review, really enjoyed reading this.

Haven't checked this out yet but man I will now. Clutch rule face.

porch
March 10th 2013



8452 Comments


lol

Titan
March 10th 2013



4799 Comments


'It's definitely their best since Blast Tyrant.'


Album kicks ass no doubt, but to say this is better than Robot Hive or Beale Street after just a few listens is a bit of a stretch.....

Underflow
March 10th 2013



2527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Just a first impression. It may not stay that way, of course.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2013



7321 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think it's better than Beale Street which I'm not a huge fan of, but Robot Hive is definitely my favorite album of theirs. Blast Tyrant, this one and Pure Rock Fury are very close behind though.

Underflow
March 10th 2013



2527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, I was never as enthralled with Robot Hive as everyone else, so it was easy to put this over it.

Titan
March 10th 2013



4799 Comments


Hey, i may agree that this becomes top 3, its that great......Robot Hive is my favorite as well...

Funeralopolis
March 10th 2013



11033 Comments


Been stoked to hear this

Digging: Deftones - White Pony

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2013



7321 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You'd better get on that man. It grooves so much.

Tyrael
March 10th 2013



20740 Comments


greg84.7

Titan
March 10th 2013



4799 Comments


Gone Cold is so good

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2013



7321 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah. I love how they put it right in the middle of the album. It gives it some sort of symmetry for sure.

Titan
March 10th 2013



4799 Comments


Yep, thought the exact same thing as I read it in your review.......I'm on my third spin and really cant believe how good this is.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2013



7321 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I can bet they wrote much more than 11 songs for this LP. I remember reading an interview with Tim Sult where he stated that Puma Spirit contains his favorite solo out of this session, and the track is not even on the album.

Titan
March 10th 2013



4799 Comments


maybe the title of the song changed........definitely have extras that didn't make the album



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