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Red Fang - Arrows

Red Fang
by Chris Hawkins at 16 August 2021, 3:50 PM

RED FANG formed in Portland, Oregon back in ’05.  Since then, the band has released four full-lengths and number of EPs and singles.  Taking the Desert Rock vibe and molding it into their own, the band’s rise has been nothing short of remarkable.  “Arrows’ was released on June 4th via Relapse Records.

Take it Back” opens as an invocation-like ritual.  It is hard not to get some serious NEUROSIS vibes with the thick ceremonial atmosphere.  “Unreal Estate” follows with a ghostly entrance slowly building into a ruthless groove showcasing the tightly locked three-piece’s oeuvre.  The chorus brings with it a processional, highly affecting sway, one that is both catchy and trippy.  With tracks such as this, it really is no wonder why the band stands at the forefront of Stoner Metal.  Simply put, their allure extends beyond the mere presentation into truly quality songwriting.

The title track follows and is the albums’ first single (the video is linked below as always)).  There is a relentless quality to the main riff heightened by the use of repetition.  It is in the latter half of the song, though, where everything really comes together into a final climax, a phenomenal finale of musical fireworks.

In the production it is really easy to see the roots from which the band arose.  KYUSS is most definitely a key element in the construction of their musical vision, at least as a jumping-off point.  The dirty, grimy bass is a constant pulse throughout the mix as the often-angular guitars construct their own layers of melody and countermelody.  The expert mixing accomplished with this recording allows the intrinsic Rock fury coursing through their collective veins to flourish.  What must absolutely be mentioned is the drum sound, a natural, organic, yet monstrously huge tone.  If I were pressed to make a comparison, it would have to be to the inimitable Chuck Biscuits of DANZIG and BLACK FLAG fame, a beast behind the kit in his own right.  The cultivation of a wide range of tones centered around a simply infallible rhythm section is the key to the album’s success.

Other highlights include the sixth track, “Anodyne,” with its sly, cunning verse erupting into one of the most stunning choruses on the album.  One has to wonder how such high-quality tunes as this do not find their way to radio play.  The air waves seem to be the ideal home for the band’s brand of cleverly catchy forward-thinking Heavy Rock.  “Fonzi Scheme,” the eighth track, features a bloated, monolithic riff which branches off into myriad directions.  Always exploring, RED FANG are now experts in balancing convention and daring, in creating succinctly poignant anthems mixed with shades of the psychedelic, a truly lethal skill set employed in the making of this album.

Arrows” is a testament to the strength of the band’s songwriting.  A magnanimous thirteen tracks are included which highlight RED FANG’s penchant for colliding the worlds of heavy and catchy, not unlike a twenty-first century CHEAP TRICK.  To the album’s benefit, this duality elaborates the strengths of the individual musicians.  Ultimately, “Arrows” is a triumph of masterful songwriting and pulverizing grooves sealed with a wink and a slight sardonic smile.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Take it Back
2. Unreal Estate
3. Arrows
4. My Disaster
5. Two High
6. Anodyne
7. Interop-Mod
8. Fonzi Scheme
9. Days Collide
10. Rabbits in Hives
11. Why
12. Dr. Owl
13. Funeral Coach
Aaron Beam – Bass, Vocals
John Sherman – Drums
Maurice Bryan Giles – Guitar, Vocals
David Sullivan – Guitar, Vocals
Record Label: Relapse Records


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