Clutch – Tickets – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC – December 27th, 2016
The Obsessed, Lionize, Silver Spring School of Rock Band
Doors: 7:00 pm9:30 Club
Neil Fallon: Vocals/ Guitar
Jean-Paul Gaster: Drums
Dan Maines: Bass
Tim Sult: Guitar
It's the parabolic motion of projectiles. Or, as Isaac Newton stated, what goes up must come down — that is, everything except Clutch.
Earth Rocker created an insurmountable peak. But Psychic Warfare has altered laws of physics by elevating the smart songwriting and impressive performances of that last album, setting an even higher benchmark as their now-definitive album to date.
The eleventh Clutch studio album Psychic Warfare goes straight for the throat with “X- Ray Visions” and never lets go. Working again with acclaimed producer Machine, this time in Texas, the concise arrangements that made Earth Rocker so assertive is the same harness for the combustible musical energy on Psychic Warfare. Harder, faster... let the rhythm hit 'em.
Formed in 1991, the Maryland-based band's ability to absorb different musical styles and fabricate them into a distinct Clutch sound continues to be their forté. “A Quick Death In Texas,” overstocked with signature “Clutch heavy” Tim Sult riffs and lonesome guitar licks, and the funk undercurrent of “Your Love Is Incarceration,” color Psychic Warfare with articulate musicality and comfortable familiarity.
The overall intensity of Psychic Warfare would be self-consuming without the pressure valve of a canny rhythm section. Drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and bassist Dan Maines have an intuitive sense of dynamics that gives weight and contrast to the forcefulness of the vocals, steering Clutch into the straightaway out of tight, exhilarating corners.
“I listened closely to the rhythm of Neil’s vocals this time around.” Gaster explains. “The rhythms he sings, are very syncopated. It was my goal to articulate these rhythms on the drums while keeping the pulse of the music strong.”
Psychic Warfare is cinematic, a soundtrack to the plot of singer Neil Fallon's imagination. The narrative of “The Affidavit” sets the scene for an album of gunslingers, energy weapons, paranoid neurosis, and the occasional three-legged mule. It's an episodic lyrical landscape populated by abstract characterization, nuance, and clever peculiarity.
“I spent a lot of time doting over the lyrics,” Fallon says. “It was fun because I have a great luxury that I'm a professional liar — that's what a storyteller is. Or at least that’s what I try to be. It's the one socially acceptable way to completely deceive people, and that's what they want. If you sing it with enough conviction, people won't question it. I just love that escapism, the fantasy aspect of it. And fantasy doesn’t necessarily equate to dragons and wizards. It can be seedy hotel rooms and sketchy hitchhikers.”
Gaster says the band knowing Earth Rocker was such a high water mark put them in a position of needing to follow up with an exceptional album. “Looking back on the process, one thing that sticks out in my mind is the amount of rehearsal the band put in. We started each pre-production day by writing out a new album sequence and then playing that sequence straight thru as if it were a set list. I think this allowed us to get inside the songs in a way we had not done before. When it came time to record drum tracks, I had a clear idea of how I wanted to play each song.”
In the past, Clutch consciously made each album conspicuously different from the last one. “We had a sadistic fear of repeating ourselves,” Fallon admits. “But over the last few years, we've realized our strengths and what it is that people like about us. Why deny it? Clutch is Clutch, embrace what you are.”
The bar is set higher, laws of physics be damned. Psychic Warfare is the new adventure, and it has no limit.
For more information, check out the band’s official website:
The band formed originally in the early 1980s, in Potomac, Maryland, led by Wino. Later on the group moved into a band house in Rockville, Maryland where some of their most creative and hardest music was written. Before this move, however, original guitar player John Reese departed from the band. The band became a trio and remained that way until the mid eighties when Vance Bockis and Norman Lawson joined the band. During this time they released the Sodden Jackyl EP and had one track ("Concrete Cancer") featured on Metal Blade's Metal Massacre VI.
The band broke up in the late 80s and Wino went west to California to join up with Saint Vitus. Wino recorded three albums, an EP, and a live album with Saint Vitus. Hellhound Records (Vitus's then current label) released The Obsessed, an album of archived Obsessed recordings, which prompted Wino to leave Vitus and reform The Obsessed with a new rhythm section consisting of Scott Reeder and Greg Rogers. The band was quickly signed to Hellhound Records and released soon released Lunar Womb. Scott Reeder later left to join Kyuss, whereupon he was replaced by Guy Pinhas. Columbia Records signed them for their third and final album, The Church Within (1994, see 1994 in music), which received rave reviews. Despite a large amount of promotion on behalf of Columbia Records (including a 25-minute documentary on the history of The Obsessed), the album did not sell as well as expected. After the demise of The Obsessed, Wino went on to form Spirit Caravan, while The Obsessed's rhythm section became the basis for Goatsnake.
The Recording Industry infrastructure as we traditionally knew it has collapsed. There are an overabundance of new acts and mainstays all trying to figure out how to exist as the market place to hear music expands but the value of music, and market place shares have decreased. How does a world-traveled, seasoned band survive without folding like so many have as the "industry" playing field continually changes?
In ten years of living in relative obscurity to the mainstream pop cultured music audience Lionize has garnered a reputation as an explosive live act and recording group amongst fans, concert- goers and legendary musicians across the globe. Lionize are taking 100% control of their destiny by going back to their roots and taking a page from the DIY Handbook. Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Scream, Gov't Issue - all Washington, DC area bands never needed the hand of a major label, radio play or main stream exposure to gain a powerful reputation as completely independent and self-sufficient artists. Lionize will begin a journey into their 10th year with a renewed sense of purpose, taking the cue from their predecessors who smirked at the term industry and make their own rules when it comes to recording and getting their music to their fans.
The band has spent the last several months building out their "Lions Den" studio in a Maryland suburb of Washington, DC where they have meticulously selected hand crafted material, recording gear and instruments in which to begin recording with. Every detail overseen and executed by the band themselves, from fulfilling merchandise orders to placing microphones to editing the songs as well. Almost every month new material will be made available world wide and distributed directly from the band, physically and digitally. After the first 4 singles are released in the fall and winter of 2015, early 2016 will see a series of 4 EP's released that lead up to the next full length album from the band, tying everything together. An ambitious and ground breaking effort from an equally ambitious band.
Beginning in the fall of 2015 Lionize will begin the story of writing, recording, producing and releasing their own material at what some would call a prolific rate. With the release of several singles a month until the new year, the band will unfold their strongest material yet, a reflection of a massive growth in sound and performance since 2014's 'Jetpack Soundtrack.' Borrowing from their influences in the aforementioned Bad Brains, Deep Purple, and Parliament Funkadelic, the band finds itself in new musical territory, ringing in endless possibilities for the future. The massive riffs, exciting melodies and classic groove-oriented sound the band has trademarked since 2005 all comes crashing to a head with these new songs - resulting in material that will leave their current fans chomping at the bit for the next release - and newly garnered fans wondering where they’ve been all this time.
What defines Rock and Roll? How does a band meld a multitude of sonic colors into a uniformed and utmost original sound? When does a band cross the threshold from ten year relative obscurity into legendary status amongst it's fans and musical peers? Lionize answers all these questions with simply continuing to survive and thrive in a class all their own, carrying a musical flag that no one else is waving - and being an example of hope to any artist that wants to remain true to themselves.. The days of Lionize living on the fringe are seemingly numbered with each coming release - as the band exemplifies the meaning of DIY.
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001