Personnel: Neil Fallon (vocals, guitar, harmonica, percussion); Tim Sult (guitar); Dan Maines (bass guitar); Jean-Paul Gaster (drums, percussion).Recording information: The Machine Shop, Belleville, NJ.Editors: Alberto De Icaza; Randy LeBouef.Publisher: Jack Flanagan.While musical trends have come and gone over the course of the 23 years that Clutch have been roaming the earth, they've always thrived by just sitting back and doing their own thing, a trend they keep up on their tenth album, Earth Rocker. Though there's still a little of that good old Southern swing in the songs, the album is more of a straight-ahead rocker. With the exception of bluesy slow jammer "Gone Cold," the album feels like Clutch at their most efficient and economical, diverting the energy they might have used for extended jam sessions into watertight rippers like "Mr. Freedom" and "Cyborg Bette." While it's a little disappointing to see them moving away from the soulful experimentations of Robot Hive/Exodus, on their first album in four years it seems fitting that they would dive back in with a back-to-basics approach, giving them the ability to rock out as hard as possible without overthinking things too much. While operating inside their own little corner of the musical world, Clutch made a reputation for themselves based on solid songwriting, lyrical weirdness, and quality -- all of which are present on Earth Rocker, which is still unmistakably a Clutch album. Shielded from the fickle whims of the musical world, they're one of the few bands that can really only be compared to themselves, and it's something that both they, and their fans, wouldn't want any other way.
'New album first impression: badass.' --Alexander Milas || Metal Hammer