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4 out of 5 skulls
March 17, 2014 | ,

Red Fang Whales and Leeches

Look, we all know that Oregan’s Red Fang are cursed with having to match the fervor that followed their self-titled, debut album and it’s hit, “Prehistoric Dog;” but what we all fail to realize is that these guys don’t give a shit. I’m not saying they don’t want to write a solid album, but seriously, have you seen any of their videos or live performances? Red Fang exist solely to rock, have fun, drink beer — and not necessarily in that order.

The fact that they also happen to be pretty goddamn good musicians and actually stand out in a highly oversaturated genre (stoner/sludge rock) is testament to their ability to write good music. Whales and Leeches, their third full-length, is as complete an album as the band has produced so far, and offers some choice riffs and catchy choruses to appease us fickle media fucks. From the relatively radio-friendly and slightly poppy “Blood Like Cream” to the romping “Crows in Swine” and the dark, brooding “Dawn Rising,” Red Fang are at the top of their game in terms of crafting an intelligent, fun and complete listening experience.

“DOEN” starts the album off a rollicking, if somewhat predictable riff, but when the song wraps up there’s not doubt left that Red Fang have claimed it as their own, mastering it’s gallop and groove wonderfully. “Blood Like Cream” keeps the groove-fueled momentum flowing with one of the catchiest most accessible songs on the album. You can check out the beer-chugging zombie filled video below:

If there’s one knock against the music these guys create, it’s that it can come across as formulaic at times. Every band strives for a distinctive, recognizable sound to separate them from the crowd. Red Fang certainly have their own, but so what’s wrong with sounding consistent? Let it be know, though, that not every song here sounds the same. The band does well to inject some much needed energy (“No Hope”), heavy booted stomps (“Crows in Swine”) or even a little malevolence (“Dawn Rising”) — all the while keeping true to their core sound.

Songs like the dense, spacey “Failure” or the spirited jam of “1516” both play into the band’s overall vibe, but also show that the band is able to branch out and incorporate different influences and feelings in their material. Yes, these guys are all about having a good time, but they are also quite adept at getting down to business when required and Whales and Leeches sees the guys doing both smoothly and successfully. Red Fang may have had a bit of a sophomore slump with their last release, but this third full-length puts them right back on the rocketing course that their debut set them upon.

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