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LIVE: Clutch

New album revealed – and it’s a classic.

It’s a weird one. Clutch, for their sins, are holed up in the upper floor of a Downtown Manhattan showroom for D’Angelico Guitars, and given the diminutive crowd you’d think it was 1991.

Since then the Maryland natives have become roof-raising heavy-jamming rock behemoths with a hard-touring reputation for ferocious live-shows and the kind of musical literacy that’s nothing short of world-class.

Currently out with prog-metal behemoths Mastodon, they’ve taken a night off to showcase tracks from their upcoming Psychic Warfare album to a small group of industry and media types, and true to form, they’ve opted-out of simply hitting ‘play’ on an iPod – they’re doing it live, and it’s a remarkable sound to behold. _X-Ray Visions _is a high-intensity, Philip K.

Dick-inspired postscript to 2013’s gloriously groovy Earthrocker, Firebirds, “a song about driving a car in space,” according to a smirking Neil Fallon, is a maximum-velocity road anthem with the kind of funked-up breakdown that’s bound to become a setlist mainstay. That is after all what Clutch – a supercharged band’s band with a Godlike rhythm-section – are best at, so it’s a surprise to hear them stretching themselves with tracks like the slow-burning, cinematic sizzle of Our Lady Of Electric Like or the anthemic, mid-tempo wrath of Son Of Virginia.

Another huge step forward for a band that’s long since earned its right to do exactly as it fucking pleases.