By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Marking a quarter century of making their signature style of heavy rock this year, Maryland-based juggernaut Clutch has established itself as a rare modern band that captures the relentless swing and ferocious groove that elevated Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath to greatness. Maintaining a largely static line-up throughout their history, drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and bassist Dan Maines have always powered the endlessly inventive riffology of guitarist Tim Sult and the fiery wordplay of lead singer Neil Fallon (organ player Mick Schauer joined the group for a couple of albums during the 2000s).
The underground hit “Spacegrass,” from Clutch’s eponymous 1995 sophomore album, got the band pegged with the stoner-rock tag, but the quartet refused to be pigeonholed by easy categorization. Freely mixing elements of metal, hardcore, hip hop, funk and blues, the band gradually moved from it’s early punk roots to forge a swampy, southern-tinged brand of heavy-duty rock that remains truly unique.
After delving deeper into blues grit on 2007’s From Beale Street to Oblivion and its follow-up Strange Cousins From the West, the group returned to pugilistic form with the hard-hitting songs heard on its 2013 release for their own Weathermaker imprint, Earth Rocker. Packed with pulverizing uptempo tracks like “Unto the Breach” and “Crucial Velocity,” the effort stood as one of the band’s best yet.
Clutch showed it remains one of the most consistently inventive riff factories in heavy music with their latest effort, last year’s Psychic Warfare. Drawing on science fiction (specifically author Philip K. Dick) for lyrical inspiration, Fallon delivers his usual Pentecostal fury over the band’s propulsive instrumental grooves. Returning to the Bay Area for the first time since playing Oakland’s Fox Theater in late May supporting metal heroes Lamb of God, Clutch comes to San Francisco with it’s own headlining tour featuring a powerhouse bill.
Renowned metal guitar great Zakk Wylde is best known for his long stint with Ozzy Osborne that started in the late ’80s, but he has also released numerous albums both as a solo artist and leading his own group, Black Label Society. For this tour, Wylde fronts his Black Sabbath cover band Zakk Sabbath with bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson (Ozzy, Rob Zombie) and drummer Joey Castillo (Danzig, Queens of the Stone Age) playing an array of his favorite Sabbath classics. Los Angeles-based metal act Kyng opens the show.
Clutch with Zakk Sabbath
Sunday, October 16, 7:30 p.m. $29.50-$32