Review by Andy Hawes for MPM
Thirteen may be unlucky for some, but it certainly isn’t unlucky for US rockers Clutch and their fans as the band unleash their monstrous new album Sunrise on Slaughter Beach onto the world on 16th September.
Built on a secure bedrock foundation of colossal, thunderous Hard Rock riffage and towering, majestic vocals, Clutch take the bull by the horns and unleash a monumental cascade of sonic devastation.
Opening track ‘Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)’ roars in waves of heavy unison guitar and bass riffing, with vocalist Neil Fallon’s full-throated roar pulverising the listener into submission on an uptempo tour-de-force that pulls absolutely no punches.
The production is deliciously lo-fi and grubby, with a ton of dirt under its fingernails. And all the better it is for it too!
Title track ‘Sunrise on Slaughter Beach’ makes an early bid for best track of the album with filthy riffing in the verses and an absolutely kick-ass chorus. There is nothing fancy going on in the arrangements; just mountain-levelling guitar and bass riffs and pummelling drums punctuated by a quieter moment that serves its purpose well, lulling the listener for a moment before the next huge riff scythes in.
‘Mountain of Bone’ keeps the quality quotient high on another uptempo rocker which deviates from the mighty unison riffing with some seriously heavy power chords and coolly interesting guitar melodies. There are even some subtle keyboards in the mix somewhere adding a slight hint of the sinister to an already mightily powerful track.
‘Nosferatu Madre’ sounds exactly like its title suggests it should. There is nothing subtle in the monumental aural assault of this track, with sludgy chugging verses and huge Sabbath-esque power chording in the choruses. The dark lyrical themes fit the music perfectly and give this track exactly what it needs.
Then, just when you think you’ve got this album all worked out, Clutch throw in a curve-ball with ‘Mercy Brown’. Fear not, they haven’t wimped out on us, but there is certainly an extra degree of sophistication on this absolute killer track which reminds me a little of Black Stone Cherry, but the sludgy riffs are never far away.
However, here they are supplemented by clever keyboards, wailing female vocals and cleaner guitar passages. It’s a bit of an epic actually and is another contender for best track on the album.
‘We Strive For Excellence’ ups the heaviosity on a track that that combines filthy Southern Rock style riffing with a chorus that sounds like the bastard son of Motorhead and early Sabbath. Fallon’s vocal here sounds properly on the edge of sanity as he rages with awesome power through the lyric.
Skeletons On Mars’ continues in a similar vein with huge guitars and very clever use of nasty and very 1970s style analogue keyboard sounds on an angry-sounding blast of sludgy Hard Rock/Metal with a very trippy instrumental mid-section that comes straight out of the late 60s/70s.
Clutch hit the home straight with another enormous piece of riff-oriented majesty in the form of ‘Three Golden Horns’ before ‘Jackhammer Our Names’ rounds things off in some style, with a slower, cleaner feel, showing a level of subtlety that we’ve neither needed nor expected from the rest of the album. It’s as close as Clutch get to a ballad and is a classy album closer.
In summary, Clutch have delivered a monster album here. It’s dirty, sludgy, heavy as hell and trippy when it needs to be.
The lyrical content is always interesting and the vocal delivery is stunning throughout. Anyone who loves the harder side of the Rock scene, especially music influenced by the likes of Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Motorhead, etc, will absolutely love this, as will fans of the heavier tracks by acts such as Shinedown, Alterbridge, Black Stone Cherry, etc. Clutch may have been in business for 31 years, but this album proves that they have lost none of their power or their edginess over that time. Very, very classy indeed!!
Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)
Mountain Of Bone
We Strive For Excellence
Skeletons On Mars
Three Golden Horns
Jackhammer Our Names
Neil Fallon – Vocals
Tim Sult – Guitar
Dan Maines – Bass
Jean-Paul Gaster – Drums
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