- by Nathan Fidler Rating:8 Release Date:2016-10-14 Label: Relapse Records
Red Fang have been slowly building their reputation on solid, heavy rock, and they’ve not actually been at it that long either. Only Ghosts, their fourth album sees them take things up a notch, enlisting the help of producer Ross Robinson, who has leant his skills to some big names (Slipknot, Korn, At The Drive-In).
The special ingredient in this blood pumping mixture of heavy guitar and bass riffs is a little grunge. Proceedings often border on the unintelligible but it never ends up in a squandered mess like so many bands who try their hand at this sort of stuff.
‘Flies’ belies it’s monstrous intentions with a slinky riff to kick things off, but the volume is quickly turned up to 11. Most of the tracks sound like the blood thudding in your ears, driven by pounding drums and sludgy bass.
It would be taking something away from this band to call them stoner-rock, since their particular brand of heavy rock never strays into a sleepy, drawn-out, swirling shambles. Only ‘Flames’ gives the impression things might take this turn, but it’s quickly cut short.
Songs like ‘Cut It Short’ and ‘The Deep’ even have an air of Rated R era Queens Of The Stone Age about them. The former of these two is deserving of heavy praise, piling on the noise but never losing it’s way, even managing a finickity breakdown before ploughing on, into a hymnal of “ohhhhaahhh” and “ahhhhhahhh”.
While there might not be anything in this album ready to tear up charts or radio playlists, there is a dedication to heavy rock which is best demonstrated on the terrifying ‘I Am A Ghost’. “I’m awake, cry your eyes out, while I escape”, is the opening gambit, with meat-grinding vocals to accompany relentless, undulating riffage.
It’s not quite as simple as business as usual for Red Fang though. Whether by their choice or their producers, this album feels that little bit more organised and streamlined. This is the kind of heavy music that casual rock listeners will enjoy if they look past the more threatening elements of the music.
Definitely going to check this one out!