I have never seen Clutch without a band I knew much better either opening or headlining for them, so while I enjoyed their shows, they never turned me into a hard-core Clutch fan. Psychic Warfare has completely changed that. This album is the best new album I have listened to all year.
This album gets started heavy and hard. It kicks your ass from the first downbeat and simply does not let go. “X-Ray Vision” goes from zero to one hundred in less than a second and takes you around the track 1000 times before passing on your exhausted body to “Firebirds,” another hard-rocking song.
Now the album takes a turn to the dark side, and this is the kind of dark side I love: haunting minor keys and mind-melting vocalization. The almost creepy “Doom Saloon,” followed by “Our Lady of Electric Light,” is probably the highlight of the album. The first reminds me of “Mescaline” by Mount Salem, a song I have on repeat on my iPod, my car, and my life. It now has a sister.
On the other hand, “Our Lady of Electric Light” is psychedelic Johnny Cash. The guitar is riveting and habit-forming and it allows Neil Fallon to stay in that range that makes Clutch so engaging. I only wish Clutch would do more with Fallon’s amazing voice. It is rock and roll as sung by Morgan Freeman--a voice that cuts like butter, and brings that overwhelming sense of peace over the listener. (Yes, Red, I will see you on that beautiful beach, Zihuatanejo.)
The album ends with two great songs: “Decapitation Blues,” which by its very name is a winner, but lives up to the hype both in terms of the riffs and the lyrics, and “Son of Virginia,” another of those songs that takes advantage of the skills of this multitalented band. Listening to this last song is a bit like watching the new Kyrie Irving Pepsi ad; he has so much talent that no one stands a chance. Every part of the Clutch team is so gifted in their skills that they can do nothing but succeed. This album is not just a touchdown, it’s a 99-yard, heart pounding, fist-thumping rush, followed by a two-point conversion and a successful on-sides kickoff.
Clutch has a new dedicated fan. Never again will I go to a Clutch concert with the goal of seeing the other band…these guys rock.
Dan Adler was raised in Southern California to a mom and dad, one of whom appreciated Creedence and left wing anti-war politics. By the teenage years, Dan became obsessed with Black Sabbath, listening to the same seven albums repeatedly for 5 years. During this time, his favorite concert experience was seeing Metallica open for a bunch of bands that no longer exist and winning the 1st ever Santa Cruz Air Guitar contest. After several years in Africa listening and dancing to Chimurenga music, Dan returned to have the two best children in the world, one of whom spends a lot of time at concerts with him. What a lucky dad!