Clutch fans will be hearing a lean 'n' mean version of the band when the Maryland group releases its 10th album, "Earth Rocker," in the spring of 2013.
"We really wanted to just write very concise, heavy songs," bassist Dan Maines tells Billboard about the follow-up to 2009's "Strange Cousins From the West." "We didn't want to go out on too many tangents on this one and just kept the songs...I don't want to say simple, but maybe a little bit more straightforward and just very upbeat, tempo-wise. I'd say a lot of these songs are some of the fastest songs we've written. We wanted to make sure (the album) has a good, high energy that maintains itself throughout the whole record."
Maines says the quartet has recorded 14 songs with producer Machine, which are currently being mixed. "The hardest part is waiting to hear the final mixes," Maines says. "But just listening to the basic stuff we did, everything sounds great. I'm really excited."
Maines says fans might recognize some of the "Earth Rocker" songs that Clutch has been playing live on recent tours, including "Crucial Velocity" and "The Wolfman is Coming Out," which was previously known as "Newt" for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
"Some of the songs we've been playing on previous tours have gone through some changes between then and the actual recording," Maines acknowledges. And he promises that those coming out to Clutch's upcoming dates -- which start Halloween night in Flint, Mich., -- will likely be able to sample even more of "Earth Rocker's" material.
"We're not afraid to play any of these songs before the record actually comes out -- we actually kind of prefer that," Maines says. "That's what we enjoy playing, is the new stuff. So I would say with certainly that we're gonna play at least a handful of the songs off the new album at these shows."
In addition to "Earth Rocker's" release, meanwhile, 2013 will also mark the 20th anniversary of Clutch's debut album, "Transnational Speedway League." Maines says he "didn't even realize" that was the case but can foresee commemorating it in some way during the year.
"We play 'A Shogun Named Marcus' pretty regularly in our set, and some of the other tracks off that album I wouldn't mind bringing back," Maines says. "We try to change up our set list as much as we can, but it gets more and more difficult as time goes on and you write more and more songs. It's hard to be able to just throw any song on the set list and be confident it's won't be a train wreck when you're actually onstage. But now that you mention it, we really should think about adding a few songs off that album. That would be pretty cool for everyone, I think."