08 September 2018 (released)
09 September 2018
So much has already been said about Clutch that adding to the lore almost feels unnecessary but this album has such a power, so great an impact and unbelievable swaggering confidence that it transcends almost all that has gone before.
Seriously, the album stays true to their roots, adds layers of monstrous power and somehow manages to be subtle and melodic as well.
A lot of the credit – apart from the band themselves – has to go to producer Vance Powell. He brings a microscopic attention to detail to their recording process and under his guidance the whole album was recorded in just three weeks after Powell spent a few days on the road with the band listening and working out how they relate to their audience – the ‘Gearheads’ of lore – and then applying it to the recording process.
The end result is immediate, coherent and sees the band recording as a unit and creating a live vibe along the way.
As to the music itself – opening with heavy distortion and building quickly into a swaggering boot stamp of a number on ‘Gimme The Keys’, Neil Fallon’s vocals command you to listen and Jean-Paul Gaster (drums) speed you through the number like a chase down the backstreets. Dan Maines’ bass provides a hellacious melody in ‘Spirit Of ‘76’ with Tim Sult’s guitar lines underpinning the vocals at every turn.
The title track is dark and filled with foreboding and at three numbers in you find yourself pinned back against the wall as the maelstrom washes over you – smile across your face and heart pounding like Gaster’s bass drum.
It goes on, track after track of brilliant writing and that braggadocio that just will not let up. Some of the lyrics are just plain strange – just check out ‘In Walks Barbarella’ “Defcon tractor Beams, weaponised funk, in walks Barbarella, set to stun” (my favourite track on the album) – but they work; it ain’t poetry but you get the point.
Since Clutch first emerged into the Maryland scene in 1993 they has redefined the ‘heavy Blues’ model, taking it by storm and enabling the likes of the Apocalypse Blues Revue but they have kept their position as the best in the game at what they do and ‘Book Of Bad Decisions’ only emphasises that – this is an important and, even more, a damn fine album