After debuting a new song, Boss Metal Zone, in Reading, Pennsylvania last September, Maryland rock stalwarts Clutch have given the track an official studio release.
The track – officially called Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone) – addresses Boss's classic MT-2 Metal Zone distortion pedal, or more specifically the conspiracy theorists who put forth its schematic as evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine had a component to allow communication with 5G networks at the tail end of 2020.
“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,” says frontman Neil Fallon. “It was, of course, nonsense. It sounded like a [science fiction writer] Philip K. Dick premise.
“I didn't want to write a song specific to COVID-19 vaccines, so I went with the Philip K. Dick angle (again). Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? came to mind – replicants, in particular, representing what is real and not real, or is there a difference at all?
“The video makes no secret that this is an homage to Philip K. Dick and a future where we have distortion coursing through our veins.”
The track itself is a straight-up rock rager, thrust forward by a clutch (sorry) of high-octane riffs from guitarist Tim Sult, thumping basslines from Dan Maines and energetic timekeeping from drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. It's not clear whether Sult actually used a Boss Metal Zone on the recording, though the high-gain riff from the 1:27 mark certainly sounds like it could be driven by one.
Also of note Tim Sult's use of a Firebird-style electric guitar in the music video, despite being more commonly associated with Gibson Les Pauls and SGs.
Clutch are currently working on their yet-to-be-revealed 13th studio album, the followup to 2018's Book of Bad Decisions.
“Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone) is one of the faster cuts on our forthcoming album,” says drummer Jean-Paul Gaster. “It kicks in and hits like a freight train. The intensity of the recording reminds me of our live shows. This song cooks and I can't wait to play it on tour!”
There's no release date yet for the album as of yet, though in a 2021 interview with Metal Kaoz, Gaster said it would arrive in early 2022. He also spoke of trialing new material in front of a crowd before putting it to record.
“So often, when we have new ideas and we put them in front of an audience, you can really tell right away if the song is the right tempo, [and] the riffs are where they need to be... It's a testing ground,” he said.
Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone) is out now on all digital streaming platforms. Inspired by Philip K. Dick, the band have also curated a playlist – dubbed Sci-Fidelity – on Spotify, to coincide with the release of the track.