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Album Review: Clutch – Psychic Warfare

After twenty years, ten albums and a lifetime worth of travel; Clutch show no signs of slowing down in Psychic Warfare.

 

Text Review:

After ten albums and over twenty years it would be normal for a band to start winding down in their career and becoming more casual with what they produce.  It’s a natural order of events in life for any profession, but somehow the men in Clutch have not only stayed at full throttle for most of their career, they don’t show any signs of slowing down.

The eleventh full album Psychic Warfare is just another testament to the work ethic and devotion that Clutch have become associated with.  After so many years of working together though you have to question how a band doesn’t get burnt out or become undone in the process of touring, performing, and writing.  One would think that making an eleventh album must be a completely different experience than making a debut.

But in that creative experience in making music, nothing changed too drastically for Maryland’s Clutch.  When asked about writing, Jean-Paul Gaster said that: “”The creative process really hasn’t changed all that much. It’s really just the four of us getting together and banging out jams, so to speak.”

Some people may take that as a “business as usual” type stance for rockers who have perfected their craft, but I see that as a huge accomplishment for a band to work together for over twenty years and still know how to get together and create and write and construct what they know will be good for an album.

And in this new album Psychic Warfare is the same gritty, rough, bass filled, distorted hard rock and roll that they have drawn cult like fans from and in the process made a legacy out of music the old fashioned way.  And you can tell that just from the only song released before the album came out, X-Ray Visions.

Hearing the opening Affidavit and then the story of X-Ray Visions is a huge trip to go on when starting an album.  Being thrown into the supernatural and paranormal while listening to an amazing bassline and the growling of Neil Fallon sets the mood of a concert hall in the northeast with a thousand 20 to 30 year olds drunkly bumping into each other while trying to headbang.

This opening song X-Ray Visions is the style that Psychic Warfare does best.  When the guitar has a little more of a dynamic and Fallon is a little more loud then you’ll notice a definite raise in attention to the music.  The raw groove in the heavier songs are what carry this album.

That’s not to say the more simply toned songs that don’t range as much don’t have any value, but when tracks like X-Ray Visions and Noble savage and Firebirds kick in are the times you will find yourself moving uncontrollably one way or another to the rhythm.

The chorus of Noble Savage makes you come alive.  Hearing the energy and passion in this song from everyone in Clutch is instantly visible in your mind when hearing this track.  When Tim Sult picks up the shred at the word “Go”, it becomes overwhelming and being unapologetic for rock and roll turns from a line in the chorus to a life statement.

Even if there are some tracks that don’t lay in the mood or the dive bar groove as strongly as intended like Our Lady of Electric Light or Your Love Is Incarceration, it can’t be stressed enough that when the intensity is raised with Fallon’s vocals is when Psychic Warfare shines.

While Psychic Warfare may not be the greatest spectacle of an album in Clutch’s 20+ years, it still stands well in their discography as something worth getting behind AND is a testament to the fact that these men are incapable of slowing down or showing any signs of age.

Overall, the fury and energy in Psychic Warfare is the reason why many Clutch fans and new comers will love this album.  Even if not every song is something you instantly hit replay on, the grit and groove in many of these tracks make this album worth listening to.

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