FOUR SQUARE Clubber Lang dare you to enter the ring.
What do heavy rock quartet Clubber Lang have going for them?
Pedigree: Sean Slaughter proved he was an elite rock vocalist with Supersoul Challenger and he doesn't pull any punches here (oops, sorry — no more bad Rocky allusions, I promise). This kid sings right from his gonads. Plus, he's backed by drummer Stefen Samuels, who's known heavy with Eldemur Krimm, does plenty of rock with Div Kid, and is a nice session drummer to boot. Tack on Dead Man's Clothes bassist Ian Riley and shredder Joe Nash and you've got yourself a band that knows what they're doing.
Total investment in the genre: These guys aren't trying to be arty or progressive. They're just trying to bash you in the face. On the brand-new You Will Never Be Defeated, the riffs are huge, the vocals are soaring, and everything gets better the louder you play it. They're not miserly either—10 songs produce more than 51 minutes of material and every song delivers with a big solo you can air-guitar to.
The best piece here is "What the Hell, Why Not?" The chorus is a little bit Soundgarden, completely fun, and Slaughter has fun rhyming "hibernate," "masturbate," "fornicate," and "copulate" at one point, drawing each word out longer and more languidly to they each have about a dozen syllables. Metal/heavy rock might be the one genre where I don't mind a little levity — keeps everything from being over the top.
There are numerous sound clips and fillers in the transitions here, too, from gunshots to tweeting birds (maybe a little homage to the bit where the guy finds the guitar in 2112) to howling wolves to laughing chicks to people getting strangled or something. This is an album, through and through, not just a collection of songs.
"I Can Never Get Enough" is a nice change of pace, too, a little more stripped-down into something close to a Beatles/Stones '60s rock-pop track. It's not hard to see Slaughter having major fun with this on the lead vocals live, strutting around the stage like rooster. There's a terrific dirty guitar lead here, too, as though it was actually recorded in a strip club.
With Murcielago, Whitcomb, Sun Gods in Exile, and a few others, it's good to see the heavy rock scene is alive and kicking. Or, well, punching.
Sam Pfeifle can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOU WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED | Released by Clubber Lang | with Heart Shaped Rock + Atomic Trash | at Geno's, in Portland | Nov 26 | myspace.com/clubberlangpredictspain