It’s amazing to think that ”Psychic Warfare” is the 11th album from Clutch in a 24 year period, yet despite that they are a band that has completely passed me by. In fact, up until this point I have only heard one song by them, and that was the title track to their last album ”Earth Rocker”.
Coming into a band this late in the game is a bit like catching up on a TV show you’ve missed when everybody else is already 8 seasons in. Bizarrely enough for someone who listens to as much music as I do, there are still bands that I just totally miss the boat on. The great thing however about starting with Clutch now is that I can go in completely fresh and just judge the album as it is in front of me, you won’t get any of that “It’s not as good as the old stuff” nonsense here.
”Psychic Warfare” is to put it bluntly, a brilliant album – it’s one of those albums that just has a spark, the minute you hot play and the first note rings out, you just know that this is going to be something awesome and then it just proceeds to kick your ass. This is an album that is designed for drinking and banging your head to.
The album has a less than auspicious start with ‘The Affidavit’ which is the sound of someone being seated in a restaurant before the album kicks off proper with ‘X Ray Visions’ which features Neil Fallon screaming about the album’s titular ‘Psychic Warfare.’ It’s the first of many great moments featured here.
”Psychic Warfare” is an album, that whilst it’s not being the heaviest in existence, gives the constant feeling of having your brains rattled – the reason for that is twofold, every song has a bone rattling riff wrapped around it and Neil Fallon is essentially a bug-eyed mad man of a rock vocalist. Imagine those dudes you see in the town square rambling about the end of the world and how Jesus saves, now picture him in a rock band and you get the idea.
In fact, the only time that Clutch slow down here is on the slow burning instrumental ‘Doom Saloon’ which allows you to gather your senses for a brief second, it’s a rare moment of calm on an album that sounds like a hurricane in a snow-globe.
Clutch may have passed me by for so long, but listening to ”Psychic Warfare” has been a wonderful breath of fresh air that has given me the chance to listen to a band that would never normally be on my radar and uncover an album of exceptional quality that sounds like nothing else I’ve heard this year. Regardless of whether I now go back and listen to the rest of Clutch‘s catalogue, I’m safe in the knowledge that I have given my time to a truly unique album from a band that is apparently showing no signs of slowing down, even after nearly a quarter of a century.