Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#12 of My Top 12 Albums of 2015: Psychic Warfare

Clutch's Psychic Warfare

Release Date: October 2nd, 2015
Label: Weathermaker
Genre: Blues Rock, Hard Rock

***Before you read this, note that all Clutch songs from the new album are flagged on Youtube for copyright except for the live versions, so aside from the official video, I had to sadly use the live recorded versions of the songs. Please go to Spotify or or something to listen to the songs from the actual album, for they are worth it.***

    Just going to lay this out right now: most of the albums on this list are not the albums I was looking forward to in 2015 last December. I had this large list of some of my favorite bands all releasing albums this year but sadly most will not be appearing on this list for various reasons. However, that is not to say that the albums were bad, most of them were decently good, just not enough to hold my attention or want to go back to it time and time again like all 12 of these albums. They all have some sort of draw factor for me, and Clutch's beard-inducing Psychic Warfare is no exception. This album is a breath of fresh air for those that believe that rock died years ago and does its damnedest to prove that it is alive and well, just in the hands of the veterans of Clutch.  I've had a certain opinion about modern rock for some time: All rock nowadays is either variations of the Shinedown/Seether alternative style, or just straight callbacks to rock and roll from the 70's and 80's.  For this reason, rock has gotten kind of stale for me and I really needed something to show me that rock and roll can still be as full of high-octane energy as it once was without sounding copied.

    Psychic Warfare comes hot off the heels of Clutch's 2013 album Earth Rocker, which was hailed as either their best album in many years or their best album period, with a lot of solid evidence to validate both claims.  I myself hopped off the Clutch train years ago and didn't get much further than Pure Rock Fury, their 5th album from back in 2001. Now, over a decade later, their eleventh album was recommended to me from somebody on a metal message board and, slightly out of boredom, I checked it out. I began with "Sucker for the Witch" and was immediately hooked by the extremely catchy beat and jammy sound.  After the satisfyingly smooth bass opening, the rest of the song highlighted what is easily recognizable as the focal point of Psychic Warfare: Neil Fallon's vocals that, even after so many years, are as perfectly suited to rock and roll as Bon Scott's voice was in the 70's.  That may be a high claim, but just listen to the below track and hear how perfectly he combines power and style into one manly-as-hell blast of audio.

"Sucker for the Witch"

    A majority of the songs on his album are very fast and very full of energy, which pleases me greatly. One song later on in the album, "Noble Savage", is quite similar to "Sucker for the Witch" in terms of style and feeling, but a tad faster and is probably the worst song to listen to if you're driving and trying to avoid a speeding ticket, although that may apply to about 3/4 of the entire album anyway. The beginning two songs (not counting "The Affadavit", which is just a 25 second long spoken word intro), "X-Ray Visions" and "Firebirds" are infinitely quotable and singable, even if you can't sing. After a listen or two, you will find yourself belting along with Fallon, screaming "FIREBIRDS! ENERGY WEAPONS!" from "Firebirds" and "TELEKINETIC PROPHETIC DYNAMITE!" from "X-Ray Visions" until you lose your voice, or at least I did when listening to the album.

"X-Ray Visions"

    Unlike some of the lower-ranked albums on my Top 12 lists, this album does not have any flaws, which may indicate to you why it was so hard to make the list this year, since it was like ranking perfection of different types.  Clutch varied away from the explosive "Firebirds" and "Noble Savage" by making a pair of dark ballads in the form of "Lady of Electric Light" and "Son of Virginia", the latter of which being over seven minutes of what sounds like an homage to some western outlaw. What has easily become my favorite however is the song "Your Love is Incarceration", the grooviest song on the album that would make even Bruce Campbell would tip his hat in admiration. The song is infinitely fun and catchy, going far and beyond with its theme of love being just like going to court and being imprisoned.  Its produced some of my favorite lines Fallon has ever thrust forward, including the legendary "Segregate me from the local population / Your love is UNNHHH... Incarceration". In all honesty, more rock songs need "UNNHH"'s in them.

"Your Love is Incarceration"

   I've been listening to this album almost non-stop since I became aware of its existence and according to iTunes, i've listened to it all the way through over two dozen times.  If you need a good jolt of electricity to get ya moving or you just need something to match your unbeatable mood, I highly suggest you add Psychic Warfare to your collection soon.

Click here for Clutch's official website
Click here for Clutch's official Facebook page
Click here to buy Psychic Warfare from iTunes
Click here to buy Psychic Warfare from Amazon.

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