The badasses are back! Massively talented rockers Clutch are hitting you right in the face with their latest release Book of Bad Decisions.
Both the band and producer Vance Powell went into recording Clutch’s 12th album with one goal: to capture the energy of a Clutch live show. By that measure, I’m calling Book of Bad Decisions a success.
“Gimme the Keys” starts off this party. This song is an old tour story, reliving the time band had to run from some scary, gun-wielding dudes in Kansas. It’s classic Clutch–fuzzy guitars cranking out killer riffs, while singer Neil Fallon delivers the story as only he can.
Book of Bad Decisions sounds absolutely amazing. To capture the electric, sweaty energy of a Clutch concert, these tunes were recorded while the band played together, live in the studio. It’s also mixed incredibly, allowing each player to shine. Fallon and Tim Suit bring the delicious riffs, one right after another. Jean-Paul Gaster (on drums) and Dan Maines (on bass) really get to show off, especially on the funky title track.
The tongue-in-cheek, and hilarious, “How to Shake Hands” is fun as hell with swagger to spare: “I’m gonna kiss all the babies/maybe kiss their mamas too.” There’s too many lyrical gems– this one is worth repeated listens to catch them all. “Paper and Strife” is another heavy-hitting tune, driven by a crazy combo of crunchy riffs and clean rock licks.
Some fun surprises include horns in the forefront of “In Walks Barbarella,” The piano-driven rock in “Vision Quest,” and the trippy outro of the slow burning “Emily Dickinson.”
In “Sonic Counselor,” a rousing love letter to the band’s super dedicated fan base, Clutch declares: “We fuss and fight and spit and cuss/look no further you have found the right church.”
Things get downright swampy as Book of Bad Decisions winds down. “Ghoul Wrangler,” tells a story I’d love to see made into a movie. “Hot Bottom Feeder” is a recipe. No, really. For some kind of fish? It’s a fun listen, whatever Fallon is singing about.
A 15-song album can be a lot to handle, even when the music you’re wading through is as badass as Clutch. However, the final song on Book of Bad Decisions is worth sticking it out. “Lorelei” is gorgeous. Haunting and sinister. The juxtaposition of the Gothic verses and the burst of power in the chorus makes this one an epic album closer.
Book of Bad Decisions once again proves Clutch deserves a place among rock’s most respected bands. Their no bullshit attitude just makes the music even better.
Catch Clutch on tour this fall, with Sevendust and System of a Down.