by Scott Hefflon
Back from the wild frontier, Clutch are warriors of a new world. Rage-fueled gunslingers who could wipe out a roomful of Zima-drinking pansies with a word. Yes, the cool-and-collected Clutch are back with an album that, I guess, is called simply Clutch (EW/Elektra).
The album starts out a bit slower than their last, Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes and Undeniable Truths (EW). I was straining to hear the first roaring declaration such as “Yes I’m a New World Samurai/And a redneck nonetheless” from “A Shotgun Named Marcus.” While the first few songs were filled with fury, Clutch didn’t seem to have the snarling wit and wordplay of its predecessor. The brutal sludge riffs of “Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw” started the deranged lyrics, but where was the foot-to-the-floor mayhem?
“Texan Book of the Dead” began and these boots started stomping. I was craving the lyric sheets that never come with advance cassettes (except for over-budgeted pop drivel) so I could shout along. The roommates and neighbors were slamming doors in time to the blasting chorus of “Oh Ee Oh Ah Ah, Ting Tang Walla Walla Bing Bang.” Only Clutch can get masses of some of the scariest-looking fuckers you’ll hope never to meet in a dark alley singing “B-I-N-G-O” and “EE-I-EE-I-OH.”
What also amazes me is the horrid guitar sound. With every heavy band trying to compete with Pantera’s “every-time-I-play-a-chord-a-building-collapses” production, it seems almost ignorant not to use the studio technology that’s available. I don’t think a producer in the land would risk arguing when guitarist Tim Suly gives that look and says, “No effects. Just mic the amp and press record.” The album takes some time to grow on you, but when it does, it’ll stay with you. There are quotables enough to fill a review. There are memorable riffs to sing in your head whenever you can’t play the record loud. Buy it, read it, memorize it. It is the Clutch creedo.