Psychic Warfare, by Clutch
Suggested by John Ingham
When Metallica released Death Magnetic, it was heralded as a fine return to form.
Legend has it that Rick Rubin, drafted in as producer in place of stalwart Bob Rock, gave a slice of advice to the then-troubled band that stood (and stands) them well. He suggested that, instead of their more introspective and navel-gazing offerings that plagued their most recent releases, they go back to their roots and sing about, well, metal stuff. Y’know, like zombies and monsters and sh*t.
They took his advice, and the fans loved it.
I mention this because Psychic Warfare, by Clutch, is bonkers. In a good way, of course.
Raw and earthy rock and roll metal, Clutch have so much energy that it’s impossible to sit still. They bluster their way through twelve corking tracks, fizzing with fabulous lyrics and song titles. Your Love is Incarceration, Decapitation Blues, Sucker for the Witch, all fantastic songs with fun lyrics that draw you into the band’s bizarre world. Lyrically, my favourite has to be Firebirds!, in which the singer regales us of the time he met a beautiful young maiden who demanded Firebirds and Energy Weapons. Sounds like my kinda girl.
Musically, there’s something swampy about the sound, a musky hot dampness that warms the soul and conjures the bayou. The frontman Neil Fallon has a brash style, and a voice that’s not the most technically gifted, but it’s certainly the perfect tone to deliver their signature brand of wacky nonsense. There’s also a knowing twinkle in his voice, a swagger of confidence that elevates the whole thing into something very special.
While I enjoy every track on the album, my favourite has to be the de facto opener X Ray Vision, which declares with Henry Rollins-esque conviction, that “Psychic Warfare is real.” It sets up the madness that is to come with panache and aplomb. You better believe me, brother!
Psychic Warfare is high-octane rock at its wild and wacky best. I give it a strong 8/10, almost a 9. The world that Clutch create isn’t subtle or serene, but if you’re looking to pogo through a war-zone wearing a tutu, it’s definitely the place to be.