Review by Brian Zickafoose
Veteran band Clutch have returned to resurrect rock from the dark depths of rap-rock and emo with their sixth studio release. The quartet’s latest is a quasi-concept album about a demonic character, Worm Drink, who seeks refuge from the Blast Tyrant’s prize ship, the Swollen Goat, after he defects from a life of war and evil in search of something far loftier.
Frontman Neil Fallon cooks up a spicy, lyrical stew in his patented, evangelist-turned-voodoo salesman manner that seasoned metal heads have grown to love. Drummer Jean Paul Gaster and bassist Dan Maines lay down fiery, ultra-tight cadences behind Tim Sult’s searing wah-wah guitar riffs.
The CD opens with the ear-blistering “Mercury” followed by the psychedelic swagger of “Profits of Doom.” On the volatile anti-establishment anthem, “The Mob Goes Wild,” Fallon urges, “Everybody move to Canada/Smoke lots of pot/Everybody move to Canada/Right now.”
Clutch change gears on the ominous, blues ballad “Regulator,” about a homebound journeyman on an ill-fated quest. The Regulator clock's pendulum swings and the rogue’s feverish thoughts twist under a gamut of emotions as he beckons, “Come with me and walk the longest mile.”
"Worm Drink,” named for the Zapotic warrior elixir mezcal, is a funky head bobber on which the demon drunkard declares he’s done with violence and flees. The album reaches its fervent finale when the fatally wounded Worm Drink seeks out “La Curandera”—a woman who brews ayahuasca, in this particular case a young girl in a linen dress of white. The song is a flighty, two-part collage with the outro featuring Tim Sult on a Hammond organ.
Blast Tyrant is Clutch’s most sonically expansive recording to date while staying true to their heavy yet humble roots. The proof is in the juice.