Maryland born and bred, Clutch have always sounded like they’re having the time of their lives, whether they’re singing about politics, literature or even museums — always with a heavy, upbeat tempo backing them up. Yet the hard rock band has been notably absent from the music scene since 2018. Thankfully, they’ve made a triumphant return with their newest single, “Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone).”

The track is reminiscent of other songs from Clutch’s 30+ year career in that it hits hard — telling you up-front what you’re getting and maintaining its drive until the final note. In this case, “Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)” doesn’t shy away from the fact that it’s lyrically – and visually, thanks to the incredibly entertaining music video – a complete homage to the works of Philip K. Dick, most notably, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? But Blade Runner references aside, frontman and voracious reader Neil Fallon states that the inspiration for the song actually came from something much closer to home:

Early in 2021, I learned the Boss Metal Zone pedal schematic was being presented as ‘proof’ that the Covid-19 vaccine had an electronic component to communicate with 5G cellular networks. It was, of course, nonsense. It sounded like a Philip K. Dick premise … The video makes no secret that this is a homage to Philip K. Dick and a future where we have distortion coursing through our veins.”

“Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)” goes on to feature other references to classic sci-fi with lyrics like, “The greatest living science fiction writer in the world” and “You’d make a great companion on a fantastic voyage.” And while Clutch have never shied away from politics in their discography, there’s something about this track that sounds angrier than usual. The “Electromagnetic pulses in my veins” in the song’s chorus could stand for any number of things, like the aforementioned 5G conspiracy theory — or even just the daily grind to parse fact from fiction in today’s world.

Nevertheless, the return of Clutch, sounding just as good as ever, is a welcome change in 2022 — and one which hopefully means there’s more great music to come soon. Clutch will be on tour with The Sword and Nate Bergman from April 27 through May 22. In the meantime, you can listen to their latest single below!

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