Over the years I have found it very hard to like this band - not really something you want to start a blog with, but I need to get this confession out of the way. Clutch are a band for years I did not like in the slightest, I did not hate them, but I found there work to be lacking something for me; it just did not engage or excite me in any way, shape or form. It was not the songs or performances, everything I had heard or seen was extremely well played; it just didn't click in my head. I always knew there would be a way in, so I persisted with it until I found my way (which is a story for another time). So in 2013 Clutch have released their 10th album and their first in almost four years after the marvellous 'Strange Cousins From The West’. Now for me picking this up is quite a dangerous thing, I could have given it to one of the guys who love this band, hell - even the brilliant Helen (Mrs ATTIWLTMOWOS) likes Clutch with more of a passion - but I wanted this, I wanted to see if I could have an instant connection after finally understanding what they were about. So, with that in mind (and if the band ever see this - at least you know I am gonna be honest).
Starting off with the slow starting title track of the album, it has the hardcore solid pulsing sound which hooks the listen in from the start; it is a subtle opening that drives the album into the spectacular "Crucial Velocity". With a ripping solo and desert rock leaning, it shows that the band have not lost any of their edge after the brief hiatus. Then pace does not ease up with "Mr Freedom", a beautiful song about a man who speaks a lot of bullshit (we all know a lot of people like that in public life as well as our personal lives as well, of that I am sure). The album is so solid and strong at this point, you get slightly worried that it is not gonna be able to keep it up, then the blues bomb called "D.C. Sound Attack!" comes out and knocks the first three songs out of the park. I swear down, this song just add another great tune to that well stored vault of rock classics.
So it is a case of so far so good and "Unto The Breach" keeps the good times rolling with solos that would make angels weep and demons wonder who they stole it from; it is such a classic riff that I am surprised it did not make it beforehand. Then comes a left turn I was not expecting with the Black Sabbath "Caravan" feeling tune in the form of "Gone Cold". It does more for the album than if they had kept on rocking, it brings a texture and depth which makes it more interesting. In some ways, it is the album's most interesting track for the fact it flies against the tide that has came before. But don't fear dear reader, the rock beast is back with "The Face", it may not be as immediate as the first part of the album, it is just as strong as anything else on this album.
"Book, Saddle, and Go" follows on which is another blues stomping bogie that will have the dead jumping out of their eternal resting places to have that last dance before the rapture. If that was not enough, you have the sultry charmer "Cyborg Betty" which is all about a cold hearted android who brings the devil out of the band, never has a riff been quite as rough and hypnotic. Then comes another left field moment with "Oh Isabella" which is more slower than most of the album, but more of a rock number than "Gone Cold", to be honest for me it is the album's most weakest moment, but a weak moment on here would be like a precious stone on another album by a lesser band. Yet the band keep their most surprising track till the end with "The Wolf Man Kindly Requests..." and they just pile on the charm, riffs, sleaze and bass lines to drive the overall plus points of this album even higher.
This is a very good solid album, there is much to like here and the fire inside them is still burning strong. The cover work is crazy and with each listen something else is brought to the front with this album. It is a solid record that would do well to grace the collection of any rock fan, they have not out done themselves by any stretch of the imagination, but they have done themselves justice and made a fine album. Sorry for being so late to the party.
8 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart
You can purchase the album from Amazon here
You can visit the Clutch website here which also contains a link to their online store
You can listen to the album on Spotify here