Someone once asked me, “Who is the most famous band from Maryland?” It caught me off guard as I really wasn’t sure at the time. I knew of a few bands from Maryland like Good Charlotte and O.A.R. but were they really that famous? So when I responded with “Clutch” the person looked at me strangely and said, “Who the fuck is Clutch?” If you don’t know who Clutch is then you probably have never heard anything off of their first TEN records!
Clutch was formed in 1991 and, with the exception of a brief three year period where they had a keyboard player, the original four members remain intact and are showing no signs of slowing down. Clutch’s eleventh effort, Psychic Warfare, is a dirty dozen of intelligent rock songs that will be rhythmically familiar to any true fan of the band. From start to finish, Psychic Warfare is pure Clutch – not Clutch trying something new some 24 years later.
The Affidavit is an intro to the opening song – “X-Ray Visions”. The lyrics of “X-Ray Visions” play off the album title and the fast-paced rhythm takes a firm hold of your eardrums right away as Clutch reminds you why they have been able to stay together for so long. As this tune comes to an abrupt ending, “Firebirds” picks up in a three minute full frontal assault of deep guitar riffs and Neil Fallon’s signature vocals. “A Quick Death in Texas” showcases Tim Sult’s bluesy guitar as the pace slows down to a groove that has you bobbing your head and tapping your toe throughout each verse. Drummer Jean-Paul Gaster is the focus on the fifth track “Sucker For The Witch”. The deliberate rhythm drives its way deep into your soul and by the time you are done listening, you too need an exorcism much like the song describes.
As we hit the halfway point of Psychic Warfare, Clutch reminds you that “Your Love is Incarceration”. Much like the many great Clutch songs before it, this funky song has the feel of one that will be an instant success on both mainstream and satellite radio stations around the world. “Doom Saloon” slows down the funk but the one minute and thirteen seconds of guitar set you up for a smoky trip down memory lane with “Our Lady of Electric Light”. “Noble Savage” jumpstarts anyone who fell into their chill zone during “Our Lady of Electric Light”. The driving drums, bass and guitar coupled with Fallon’s aggressive vocals are enough to shake off anyone’s cobwebs. Although it’s less than three minutes long this track certainly gets the job done! “Behold the Colossus” may be the most interesting track on the record. It has a very dark message underneath its cloak of Clutch cadence including references to mythical creatures such as cyclops, gargoyles and gorgons all looking to have their revenge on humans. With only two songs left on the record, “Decapitation Blues” combines typical Clutch lyrical brilliance with a wicked Dan Maines groove and even deeper guitar riffs. Death by a three-legged mule doesn’t come easy unless you are engaged in a tale being told by Neil Fallon. As you finally reach the end of this amazing journey called Psychic Warfare, you are met by “Son of Virginia” – a lesson in personal responsibility when it comes to history that has a down home country feel to it.
Maryland. The home of a few bands that you’ve heard of might be the home of your next favorite band after you check out Psychic Warfare. But before you ask me “Who the fuck is Clutch?” do yourself a favor and listen to the first ten records. You won’t be disappointed with them just as you won’t be disappointed with the eleventh effort which hits shelves on October 2, 2015.