Always makers of their own destiny, Clutch have cut their own assured path through the world in the past thirty-one years. Walking a fine line between mainstream success and cult status, the quartet have made their instantly recognised sound a thing of thrilling beauty, a gloriously woozy desert stomp that hides a razor-sharp soul. Sunrise On Slaughter Beach is their thirteenth full-length release, and it’s a rocket ride that seems sure to delight fans both old and new.
Clutch – Sunrise On Slaughter Beach (Weathermaker Music)
Release Date: 16 September 2022
Words: Paul Monkhouse
Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone) opens things, and sucker punches with an off-kilter intro before the patented Clutch full-force mania kicks in, the howl of singer Neil Fallon and Tim Sult’s dexterous punchy riffs kicking in. Throwing you bodily into their world, you cannot help but move as the wild preacher vocals, and the driving rhythm by Dan Maines and Jen-Paul Gaster exhort you to lose yourself in the whirlwind.
Barely pausing for breath, Slaughter Beach brings one of the biggest grooves you’ll hear all year, its stamping feet and shifting sands leading the way to a divine madness. “The lyrics for Slaughter Beach were inspired by a late night walk along the southern Delaware Bay,” Neil Fallon said. “Odd things happen there.”
Things get even heavier for Mountain Of Bone as they mix some Black Sabbath ’70s doom with touches of The Mission’s Gothic flair into one epic whole, the following Nosferatu Madre blistering and buoyant. Mercy Brown adds some more hues into the mix, it’s unsettling, dark bluesy Prog lifted with the ‘Great Gig In The Sky’ type vocals provided by Frenchie Davis to dizzying effect.
The high octane We Strive For Excellence is a slab of prime Clutch stoner rock, the fire and brimstone pouring out of the speakers and the blistering Skeletons On Mars a seriously heavy one-two knockout punch. The galloping boogie of Three Golden Horns rattles along, featuring fretwork from Sult that switches from wigging out to straight-ahead chunky heaviness as Mains and Gaster link together as an unstoppable locomotive that twists and turns with a perverse delight.
The elegant Gothic funeral pace of Jackhammer Our Names is a captivating and bewitching closer, understated, and with pitch-perfect delivery from Fallon, it brings the album to a haunting and purposely atmospheric end that will have you reaching for the play button.
With Sunrise On Slaughter Beach, we see Clutch yet again confounding expectations, and the result is one of the finest things they’ve ever done.
Sleek, inventive and full of passion and fire, Clutch continue to lead the way, lighting up the world with their own brand of electric mayhem and soul.