If any other well-established hard rock/metal group were to title their ninth studio album “Earth Rocker,” it would be perceived that they had lost their inspiration and creativity. However, taking into account Clutch’s sound and overall style, this is not the case with their latest release of that exact title.
While 2013’s Earth Rocker may not be up to par with 1995’s Clutch, not much else reaches that level of excellence. The Red Hot Chili Peppers-esque stoner rock style is not as prominent as it was in the band’s early years. Clutch’s music has definitely evolved into something of its own, as heavily portrayed on Earth Rocker.
The opening title track sounds somewhat reminiscent of “Spacegrass” from the band’s aforementioned self-titled sophomore effort. It begins with a soft, repetitive bass line accompanied by light high hat cymbal tapping and an eerie guitar groove. All of a sudden, the heaviness bursts out to create a full-on rock n’ roll song.
“Crucial Velocity” is a bit more groove-laden and includes more melody in vocalist Neil Fallon’s singing.
Fallon exhibits his skill of easily adapting his voice to perfectly match the accompanying music throughout this record. For instance, on fast songs like “Unto the Breach,” he fluctuates between speedy, melodic vocals to raspy shouts to slower, deep-toned singing.
One song that particularly stands out in terms of Clutch’s diverse sound as well as Fallon’s vocal skills is “Gone Cold.” It sounds like a Classic Blues song with the chanted vocals on the verses and the very bluesy singing on the chorus in addition to the extremely bluesy bass line.
Overall, Clutch’s Earth Rocker is undoubtedly one of 2013’s best records so far. For longtime Clutch fans, this is Clutch in top-form.