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After what feels like forever, although it's only been three and a half years, Clutch's latest album is finally here. In my opinion they are one of the most interesting bands that are active today, with a unique sound, a fantastic discography and crushing live performances. Earth Rocker is their tenth album and it's said to be a more straight-forward rock 'n' roll album than the preceding album Strange Cousins From The West. I'm bound to agree with that statement even though someone that's not really familiar with their albums might not notice any huge differences between the two.
Listening to this album has been interesting as my initial reaction was a sense of disappointment as I didn't feel that any the songs really stood out. However, after listening to it a couple more times it started growing on me and the nuances that I didn't hear the first times were suddenly obvious. The foundation of it all is of course the great riffs by Neil Fallon and Tim Sult; adding Neil's unique voice and spaced-out-beyond-all-human-sense lyrics along with a powerful rhythm section, it's hard to fail.
Some highlights of the album are the title-track with it's great bassline and playful chorus, the heavy-hitting, bluesy D.C. Sound Attack! and the intense riff monster Unto The Breach; but the one song that stands out the most to me is Oh, Isabella. In a way, it's a pretty straight-forward rock 'n' roll song with a strong chorus, yet I don't think it sounds like anything we've heard earlier from Clutch. I can't really put the finger on what it is but it's catchy as hell and my favourite song on the album. And while searching for weaknesses in this album is mainly nitpicking, I would have loved if even more songs felt like something new entirely.
The album is produced by Machine, who worked with Clutch on two of their most adrenaline-pumped albums, Pure Rock Fury and Blast Tyrant. And the production is spot-on, really, with a very well-balanced sound which fits the fast and intense songs especially well - such as Crucial Velocity, Unto The Breach, Book, Saddle And Go and Cyborg Bette. Earth Rocker is easily on par with Clutch's stronger albums and at the moment I'll settle for 8,5 chalices out of 10, although it very well might grow even further on me with time.
also review of: Strange
Cousins From The West