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Red Fang: Whales and Leeches

Red Fang is one of my favorite bands. Since late 2011, I've seen them perform three times and they never disappoint. The only show I've missed since then is the one from a couple of nights ago, the day this new album dropped. A friend of mine attended and told me the band performed just as well as they always have. The band, my friend told me, was dressed in tuxedo t-shirts, the kind that people wear as a joke. So that's how Red Fang celebrates their latest release: with humor and self-deprecation. I love it.

I interviewed a member of Red Fang a while ago and posted it on this site. In that interview, Bryan Giles mentioned that he doesn't like to get stuck in "genre ghettos" and that he listens to lots of music outside of metal and that he doesn't think about the band or their music in terms of what's going on in the world of metal.

Giles's comments weren't given about the new album and don't really help us think about what they band it doing here, but I think they are relevant nonetheless. After all, some listeners may find a few moments on this album to fall outside of some narrow definition of the metal genre and that therefore they don't really count or that they aren't that good. It's important, though, to keep in mind that this is a band that never pretended to have a single formula or sound, one that they reproduce over and over until the sales die down. If bands these days have learned anything from the 80s, it's to avoid too much clichť.

Sure, listeners will no doubt point to several moments on this album and identify them as various aspects of the Red Fang sound. The beauty of this band, though, is that their sound comes through in multiple ways, all of which reflects a different aspect of the music as a whole. If the band has a sound, that is, it comes from the various ways the killer riffs, the traded vocals, and some of the best, most exciting, drumming out there come together to create the overall sound. And what a sound it is! I don't know how this band does it, but they know how to create songs that simultaneously play up the best of stoner metal with something closer to fist-pumping anthems.

I've noticed that some listeners, including the band members themselves, compare Red Fang to Queens of the Stone Age. In my opinion, they don't need to do that. To me, Red Fang is not only a more exciting and interesting band but also one that occupies its own place in the metal scene. They occupy their own place.

This record, like the band, does not disappoint. I do think that some fans will struggle with "Dawn Rising" and "Failure." The former is quite longójust over seven minutesóand tends to bog down from time to time. It's a good song, but it comes off like a real downer after a half-dozen drink-soaked, riff-infused anthems. The other track "Failure," is also a good track but is just plain depressing. If it's meant to capture the feeling of never wanting to get out of bed, then it is a complete triumph. If there's something more to this song, I suggest listening to it after getting ramped up on Oreos and Gatorade because it, too, is a downer.

I've gone on for too longójust listen to the album. If you aren't hooked after DOEN, then there's really nothing I can do for you.

Track Listing:
2. Blood Like Cream
3. No Hope
4. Crows in Swine
5. Voices of the Dead
6. Behind the Light
7. Dawn Rising
8. Failure
9. 1516
10. This Animal
11. Every Little Twist

Added: October 17th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2034
Language: english

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