Friday 14 October 2022

ALBUM REVIEW: Clutch, "Sunrise on Slaughter Beach"

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/09/2022
Label: Weathermaker Music

“Sunrise on Slaughter Beach” CD//DD//LP
1. Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)
2. Slaughter Beach
3. Mountain Of Bone
4. Nosferatu Madre
5. Mercy Brown
6. We Strive For Excellence
7. Skeletons On Mars
8. Three Golden Horns
9. Jackhammer Our Names
The Review:

Clutch are one of those reliable bands- an album every couple of years, all of them at least good, no bad records… they have their own sound and style and operate in a league of one. In a sense, they operate in a similar way to Motorhead or Overkill: you kind of know what you are likely to get. The only question that remains is how good it will be?
I’m of the bracket of Clutch fans which thinks that the similarly-produced-trio of “Blast Tyrant”, “Earth Rocker” and “Psychic Warfare” are their best albums. Sure, “Robot Hive/Exodus” was great, “From Beale Street To Oblivion” was cool… but “Strange Cousins From The West”, “Pure Rock Fury” and “Elephant Riders” are merely worthy albums and so on.
So, with “Sunrise on Slaughter Beach” Clutch have the perfect opportunity to roar back with a high energy record after the more meandering “Book of Bad Decisions” and please members of their fanbase such as myself who enjoy the quirky themes and lyrics, the preaching vocal style and the bluesy/stoner-ish riff work that runs like a river through their best work.
Well, first off, the production is pretty punchy- not maybe Machine punchy- but punchy nonetheless. The record is short- these are focused songs and a playing time that would not fill one side of a TDK90 tape. So far, so good. However, it lacks something to make it stand out. Across the nine tracks, there are good and catchy/hooky songs here- all well formed and played. “Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)” is a strong opener, elsewhere, “Nosferatu Madre” really stands out with its loping groove and creepy story telling. The band play superbly, as usual.
However, other tracks just happen and pass by- “Mercy Brown”, “Mountain of Bone”, “We Strive For Excellence”- all perfectly serviceable, all Clutch but just lacking that killer bite that their best material has. In a sense this is a lot like a latter day Motorhead album- nothing wrong with it, a few great standouts and then the sound of the band you love, comfortably and competently delivered.
If the above sounds negative, it isn’t really. This is a decent album- a good album, even. To my ears it just lacks something- spark, inspiration… maybe even a little danger? So much has happened since the “Book of Bad Decisions” record that could have made it into the lyrics here, but instead the lyrics reference nostalgia rather than current events- a missed opportunity? Or a deliberate move so as not to distract from the band’s key manifesto of groove and good times.
Overall, this is, by Clutch’s standards a mid-table record. By other band’s standards, this is of course excellent- but other bands are not Clutch. Fans of the band will enjoy it but may not love it. Those new to the band may love this- the frame of reference will not be there, so that is a possibility. Have a listen and hear for yourself.
“Sunrise on Slaughter Beach” is available HERE 

Band info: facebook