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Red Fang: Arrows

Red Fang hit such a high point with their debut, Murder the Mountains, that it sometimes feels like everything released since then is a bit of a letdown. The strength of that debut was its energy, its songwriting, and its overall sense of freedom. Clearly Red Fang was exploring their sound and doing whatever felt good to them. They also brought a fantastic energy to stoner metal and proved that it was a style capable of more than people might normally assume.

I was fortunate enough to catch Red Fang a few times back in those days and they were so great that I started thinking of them as the Mighty Red Fang. The highlight of every show was “Wires,” a song that still blows me away after all these years. Not only does it have a very cool opening riff, but it takes off in different and unexpected directions.

I reviewed Whales and Leeches (2013) and Only Ghosts (2016) on this site, and I thought both of them were solid and worth recommending. I still liked Murder the Mountains best, but I never thought the band was losing their way. If anything, I thought they were developing a great sound that was distinctive and original. That’s probably why I chafe at all the comparisons of Red Fang to Queens of the Stone Age. Of course there are similarities, but I really just want Red Fang to do their own thing.

So what about the new album? Is it any good? Many people consider this new album the best thing the band has done since Murder the Mountains. I think that’s true, but I hope that doesn’t mean that people are also seeing this as some kind of return to form. This album is the best thing they’ve done since Murder the Mountains because it has the same sense of freedom that album had. The band is a little darker and deeper now than they were then, but there’s a distinctive sense of wildness that still brings it all together.

“Arrows” is one of the album’s more accessible songs. It has that familiar Red Fang style and there’s a typically weird and funny music video you can watch. I thought it was a good tune, but my favorite track was definitely “Rabbits in Hives,” a propulsive song with a little extra dose of punk rock. It’s short and to the point and wastes no time. I also really enjoyed “Why” because it was a little such a neat contrast to “Rabbits in Hives,” and it had genuinely thoughtful lyrics. Another highlight was definitely “Funeral Coach,” a track the band apparently started 11 years ago. The idea is a pun on coach and suggests ways that people can play up dying, or something like that. “Fonzi Scheme” is also a pretty good pun and a pretty good song. I was less inclined toward “Take it Back,” but that’s mostly because I accidentally set it up to repeat and listened to it three times in a row before I figured it out. I’m glad “Take it Back” isn’t any longer than it really is.

Red Fang is a band worth listening to. If you’ve never listened to them, start here, and see what you think. And be sure to catch them on the road. They recently announced a tour for the end of the year. They are fantastic live and they also tend to tour with other great bands.

Track Listing:
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

Added: July 5th 2021
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 655
Language: english

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