Clutch
Sunrise on Slaughter Beach

Album number 13 sees Maryland’s Clutch getting better with age. I started out a fan with their early 90’s hardcore metal influenced ep’s and albums. I’ve seen Clutch multiple times live and they never disappoint. Last time I saw them was quite some time ago. I think I’m 2001 for the Pure Rock Fury album. After the 2007 album From Beale St. To Oblivion I dropped the Clutch. Unsure why. They were getting too jam band oriented for me at the time. I reviewed their 2013 Earth Rocker album and just kinda didn’t like the album. My best friend, Mr. Nitz, kept pushing me to go revisit the band and thankfully I listened. I’m back to listening to Clutch, I love Earth Rocker, all the other recent albums and I guess I was ready to open my ears to their sound again.  After listening to their discography front to back literally the last year, Sunrise on Slaughter Beach shows no sign of Clutch slowing down.

Despite many of their albums Clutch went old school and streamlined their new album. 9 songs in 34 minutes.  “Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)” opens up right off the bat with a thunderous and rocking beat with excellent riffs. Neal’s vocals are stronger than ever with a killer chorus and phase shifter effect when his vocals come in during that moment.  Nice isolated distorted bass guitar in the song, as well. The drums are thunderous and more punishing on this album. The bass drum is organic but chest collapsing. My chest pulses when I crank this album with a sub-woofer. The title track is a moodier number and not upbeat like the opener. The chorus is repeated multiple times and is quite catchy. I was singing along while making myself a cheese sammich the other day. This is a great song and the band shot a cool video for it as well.  “Nosferatu Madre” starts slow with a punishing yet restrained rhythm section until the chorus erupts and the song enters into epic greatness at this moment. The jam section at the 2.05 starts a killer hard rocking moment equipped with a nice bass guitar underbelly and then the song goes into the killer chorus. This song must be in their live set.

“We Strive for Excellence” has a monstrous bass guitar strumming sound for the entire song and this is a true headbanging tune.  “Skeletons on Mars” is the fastest song on the album as it gallops along as if it were an Elephant Rider catching a basket of eggs.  The song has a bit of a space 70’s vibe with some of the spacey feel during the fast part. I love how the song gets into the mid paced chorus and at the 1.47 part it gallops again with a short ethereal guitar solo. Weird sounds are abound on this.  “Mercy Brown” is moody and features terrific yet haunting backup female vocals.

Ending with “Jackhammer Our Names” Clutch gets into an almost nightclub loungy sound as the song is ultra-catchy, moody and a bit doomy. I love the vocal tones and phrasing on this song and lyrics. The 1.38 part gets into a little Led Zeppelin shoegazey atmospheric showmanship. It’s killer. I never would have thought I’d pick a song like this as my favorite on the album. But it is.  Sunrise on Slaughter Beach is one of the best metal albums this year and has an ass-kicking album cover to boot.  Clutch are still in a league of their own and one of the most original and intact bands for 30+ years. Ohhhh Boy! I feel old. The production is powerful. The instruments and vocals are perfectly mixed and it is a rhythm driven album and the band has recorded one of their catchiest albums in years. No filler only killer!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
October 13th, 2022

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