Sound — 9
This is Clutch. Their style has been one of the single common threads amongst all of their albums. Once again, the sound has an aggressive rock tone, with throwbacks to blues style riffs and Niel's vocals carrying a melody completely contrary to the backing track... and it's magical. Clutch has always been what I refer to as a "pocket" band. They find a groove for the backing track and just drive it and drive it home; each riff is an accomplishment and they sit in the pocket and play it and bend it and twist it to create subtle differences each time; while still remaining similar to how the riff started. This groove makes the music feel good as well as sound good. For this album, they followed in their normal trend; pounding out track after track of catchy blues rock riffage and niel's powerful vocals rounding out to an almost perfect sound. One of my favorites from Clutch; and I'm a huge fan.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics for this album are what we've come to love and expect from clutch. Some off the wall, some devastatingly moving. "Abraham Lincoln" is grounded in such history; yet still manages to resound a level of emotion previously unheard of in Clutch's music. But on the other hand you have songs like Minotaur, which are a throwback to the "Robot Hive/The Exodus" days where only god knows what was happening in their brains when the words pieced themselves together. No song sticks out as particularly strong in this category, but none are weak either. And all are delivered with the great power and skill and melody that only Niel can deliver.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is a must buy for anyone who's ever liked a song by Clutch. It's just solid all the way through. Is there an "Electric Worry" type ear-worm on the album? No. But what is on the album are 11 solid offerings; not a single song worth skipping over. I don't think this is their best album to date; and I've certainly enjoyed individual songs more on other albums... but this may be the most well-rounded and complete album... from the opening "eastern" riff on Motherless Child to the last note of Sleestak Lightning, I thoroughly enjoyed it all. I'd certainly replace this album should my brother "borrow it" or any other tragedy occur. It's just so well rounded, something rarely heard of in today's music scene.