It Is What It Is.

                               Blast Tyrant


Review by S J Holetz

As much as I love music, there aren’t too many bands these days that have me banging on record store doors
the morning of their new release, but Maryland’s Clutch is one of them. I have been a fan of this band since their
debut in 1988, when I first saw their video for A Shogun Named Marcus on the old “Headbanger’s Ball”, &
directly hit the record store to pick it up. (That was one productive episode, as I first heard Therapy?’s
Screamager that same night, another great discovery.) In my view, Clutch’s music has always represented
a combination of brains and raw power that is singular in the world of music.

It isn’t often that a long established act, particularly one this excellent, blows the doors off their back catalog
with a new release. But Clutch did so with 2004’s Blast Tyrant, which to this day towers alone Titan-like as
my favorite album of the twenty-oughts. 

I have listened to this particular work hundreds of times, it never fails to amaze me how consistent it is. There
are no tossed together riffs, no half baked ideas. Just 15 straight tracks of awesome power and poetry, unrelenting
in their quality.

Mercury kicks off the proceedings, as guitarist Tim Sult and bassist Dan Maines build a wall of roiling
distortion-rich noise, which parts like the red sea only to introduce vocalist Neil Fallon’s roar:

“Daedalus your child is FALLING!
And the LabyRINTH is CALLING!”

And thus we are off through the next trilogy of stunners. Muscular guitar lines wend their way through the
wah-drenched Profits of Doom, and segue into the freeform political rantings of The Mob Goes Wild,
before culminating in a visit to the deadly shadowy women who gather in the Cyprus Grove. This track
is a personal favorite, and one of the most lyrically evocative tracks in the whole Clutch canon.

The music rages on, respite coming momentarily in the soothing opening strains of The Regulator before
rocketing into the second half of the album. Here we pick up a loose narrative concerning itself with the
tale of The Worm Drink, an alien military defector who is being chased down by a group of ruthless
space pirates aboard The Swollen Goat.  Said pursuit is propelled by one great riff after another, and
the incredible drumming of JP Gaster. It is amazing to me that one man with only two arms can cause that
much swingingly rhythmic destruction. 

At this point I never fail to lose myself in the grooves of Spleen Merchant, and the fantastic Subtle Hustle.
“I cause eclipses with a wave of my hand”, indeed. The band knocks out a few more effortlessly epic
grooves in Ghost and La Curandera, before settling into the jammy Hammond-fueled cockpit of WYSIWYG,
where they ease the seat back, blaze one up, & set the controls for the heart of the interstellar silence
that lies beyond the terminus of every CD.

Can I hear an Amen?

  Copyright  2007 S J Holetz

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