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Fu Manchu: We Must Obey

Orange County's Fu Manchu have been at their brand of heavy and groove-laden stoner rock for over a decade now, and their latest We Must Obey is their debut on Century Media/Liquor & Poker. Recorded in the famed Hollywood Grandmaster Recorders studio (Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Black Crowes) and co-produced by Andrew Alekel (Weezer, Rancid, Queens of the Stone Age), We Must Obey bristles with massive power and confident fury. Long known as a band who can come up with plenty of classic riffs, the tunes on We Must Obey certainly fall right in line with that opinion. Scott Hill and Bob Balch provide the killer crunch on tunes like "Hung Out to Dry", "Let Me Out" and the lurching title track, falling somewhere in between Black Sabbath and Corrosion of Conformity. Doom with a garage mentality? Sure. Fu Manchu always had somewhat of a punk attitude behind their stoner/doom presentation, and that element is lurking in the shadows of "Shake It Loose", "Didn't Really Try", and "Between the Lines", two numbers that pick up the tempo a bit and see the band really locking into a groove. However, it's the lumbering, crushing pieces like "Land of Giants", "Knew It All Along", and "Lesson", each dripping with feedback and fuzz-encrusted riffs, that seem to work the best, bringing to mind seminal 60's & 70's acts such as Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Mountain, and Grand Funk Railroad. If you're a fan of Fu Manchu, you know of their penchant for throwing in the occasional cover tune, and on this release they drop in a sludge ridden version of The Cars staple "Moving In Stereo", and do a very cool job of it.

In the end, We Must Obey is unadulterated heavy rock done California style, and a damn fun listen.

Track Listing
1) We Must Obey
2) Knew It All Along
3) Let Me Out
4) Hung Out to Dry
5) Shake It Loose
6) Land of Giants
7) Between the Lines
8) Lesson
9) Moving In Stereo
10) Didn't Really Try
11) Sensei vs. Sensei

Added: February 2nd 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Fu Manchu Website
Hits: 6408
Language: english

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Fu Manchu: We Must Obey
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-02-02 15:51:33
My Score:

When you are looking for a pure definition of Hard Rock with a wide variety of other influences then you need look no further than Orange County's Fu-Manchu. They have been together over a dozen years and this album is their tenth, but the first on the Liquor & Poker Music imprint of Century Media Records. The groups lineup consists of Scott Hill (vocals/guitars), Bob Balch (guitars), Brad Davis (bass) and Scott Reeder (drums) and the minute you begin playing the CD you will not only hear but you will feel the strong riffing that is happening on every single track. It is a little bit Punk at times, but also has that Stoner and Doom feel crunch in the background and together forms the unique "Fuzz Rock" for which they are most known. The music is totally in gear with the kind of stuff that Monster Magnet and Corrosion of Conformity are doing and should appeal to their fan base as well. "We Must Obey" throttles the listener like a punk version of Motorhead while "Between The Lines" has a very intense, almost Metal vibe to it "Lesson" has that resonant Black Sabbath groove going on and this leads you to the oddly placed cover of The Cars "Moving In Stereo". I thought this was a unique track for them to do, as the original is so strong on the keyboards while there is nothing of the sort in Fu-Manchu. Essentially, if you have ever wanted to hear a Stoner/Doom rendition of a Cars track then here is your chance. Do not laugh, its very good actually.

This is pure and unadulterated Rock my friends and its sound is tailor made for those dark basement clubs and bars. There is nothing pretentious here and it amounts simply to four guys jamming out the way it used to be done and showing little care what others thought about it. It's heavy and gritty throughout the recording, and is for those who love sharp groove and riffs that use distortion properly and tastefully. While not the most technical presence, the listener will find that Reeder is quite the solid drummer and fans of his in general might enjoy the chance to hear and support the other efforts he undertakes. This is a fun album if you like some of the referenced stuff most especially.

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