Album Review: Clutch, ‘Earth Rocker’

bill bodkin is clutch …

clutch-earth-rocker

Clutch never ceases to surprise and amaze.

The band has been producing some of the most unique and eclectic music of the past two decades. Steeped in the world of fuzzy heavy metal and hard rock, the Maryland-born unit has brought elements of hip-hop, blues, bluegrass, country and hardcore into their catalog.

Photo Courtesy: Freeman Promotions
Photo Courtesy: Freeman Promotions

What’s so surprising about their latest release, Earth Rocker, is that it’s a pretty straight up rock ‘n’ roll record.

And it is an absolutely glorious creation.

Earth Rocker features all the trappings of classic Clutch. The guitar work of Tim Stults is a beautiful arrangement of fuzzy rock ‘n’ roll fury that’s deeply steeped in the blues. It also features the unmistakably gruff voice of Neil Fallon — one of the most criminally underrated vocalists in the hard rock and heavy world.

Fallon’s vocals are most impressive on the first two tracks of the record — the title track “Earth Rocker” and “Crucial Velocity.” His lion-like roar is just so infectious and despite it’s gruff quality, it still has this intrinsic melody to it. For a different take on his vocals, just check out the fourth album cut, “D.C. Sound Attack” where Fallon’s bluesy, Southern-preacher vocals are on brilliant display.

The speed of the record should also be noted. The low-end antics of bassist Dan Maines and piston-like precision of drummer Jean-Paul Gaster are the main catalyst for this. It seems that they’ve been given adrenaline shots to the chest and are out to tear the face off their respective instruments. And this isn’t knocking their previous work, it was more groove-centric and had more of a determined and methodical pace.

For those who may miss the oddities and eccentricities of a classic Clutch album, we have their back catalog to appreciate all of this. Earth Rocker is just another creative and different chapter in the long and storied career of Clutch.

For those hard rock and heavy metal fans out there who have not discovered Clutch yet or have deemed them a bit too “outside the box” to get into — Earth Rocker is the record you need to be listening to. It’s probably the band’s most accessible album and really should be treated as your gateway drug to the band’s tasty back catalog.

For those of us who are already in the know when it comes to this band … well you’ve probably already got this album in heavy rotation, don’t you?

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites