March 12, 2009 | | 4

Red Fang, Red Fang

Red Fang: s/t

Ragged riffs, fuzzed textures, beefy rhythms and a straight forward sensibility form the DNA of Portland’s Red Fang. Sort of like the bastard off-spring of Black Sabbath, Helmet and Motorhead, except with more bong resin and empty beer cans, this quartet lets loose with monolithic, thundering walls of rock. Thick grooves combine with raw vocals for one hell of a joy ride.

Through the band’s self titled debut full length you’ll be taken on a trip to some dank, sweaty basement shrouded in a haze of smoke one minute and then funneled through a winding tunnel awash in psychotropic influences the next. When all is said and done, however, you’ll certainly know the sound of Red Fang — intense, energetic and dirty. If I were ever to be reincarnated as an amplifier, this is the type of shit I’d want bellowing from me constantly.

Prehistoric Dog
“Prehistoric Dog” gets the album going as rolling reverb fades in like distant thunder into thick, memorable riffing. The drum work is heavy as thick bass thuds in the background. The vocals are sung, but still fairly raw and ragged — a perfect accompaniment to the music. There’s a slick slow down around 2:30 that has some spacey effect added before Red Fang get back into thick groove and guitar work.

Reverse Thunder
Discordant guitars get this next one going. Once the drums come in there’s plenty of groove to get lost in. The vocals are a bit darker, as guitar noise and reverb echo in each riff. This one has a slightly more aggressive edge to it, but is still beer can crushing rock. There’s a bit of a Mastadon feel to this one, as well.

Night Destroyer
“Night Destroyer” has a pretty memorable beginning with catchy guitars and steady rhythm. The chorus is also pretty damned catchy with layered vocals and smooth transitions. The guitars at 2:10 are dark and wavering before descending into a churning mass of noise.

Humans Remain Human Remains
After the trio of opening tracks, the group slows it down and steps outside of themselves with this spacey and trippy epic track. Reverb brings us slowly into the fold for the first minute or so before the drums join in. The vocals come in shortly after the second minute and have a spacey edge to them. This is a dark, wavering song that’s reeking of bong smoke. Before you know it, the six and a half minute long song has come and gone and you’re left a bit dazed and wanting more.

Good to Die
“Good to Die” picks the pace back up immediately with thundering drums and thick riffs. The vocals are a bit more aggressive and layered nicely. This is a fist-pumping jam if ever there was one. The groove that flows through this one is just too damned infectious to ignore and really stands out just before the two minute mark. The song has a burst of urgency at the three minute mark that carries us to the end. Awesome song!

Bird on Fire
I love the opening guitar to “Bird on Fire.” It’s instantly recognizable and catchy. For as raw and dirty as this one sounds, there’s a good deal of melody seething beneath the sludge and textures. The chorus is catchy, as well. The guitar and vocal combination at the two minute mark sounds earily similar to something I’ve heard before, but is still pretty killer.

Wings of Fang
There’s a definite punk vibe to this next track even though the band still utilizes their sludgy riff fueled base sound. I’m digging the dual vocal attack on this one, as well.

“Sharks” starts off with some cowbell and killer guitar licks before thundering drums come in with some massive riffing. This one is pure rock and fucking roll. Again there’s a sweet vocal/guitar combination that really makes this song something special. It could also be the thunderous slowdown just before the two minute mark that’s beefy as all get out.

Whales and Leeches
The opening guitar to “Whales and Leeches” isn’t something you’d typically hear on an album like this, but Red Fang pull it off masterfully. There’s a thick tone to this one that threatens to swallow the rest of the band as they teeter on the precipice of some deep, cavernous hole. There’s a brief slowdown as the band works to balance themselves with lighter guitars, but that doesn’t last too long as burly riffs and heavy drums come in shortly after.

The final song fades in over the first 40 seconds or so as if the band were warming up their instruments. Once they’re set, Red Fang settle into a smooth groove with killer guitar work and calculated drumming. This one is like the last jam of the night. It’s dirty, raw and all over the place musically and vocally. And like that, the album is over.

~ ~ ~

Miss the days of shlepping to some unfinished basement in a neighborhood you know nothing about in order to hear some decent raw, heavy rock? Have no fear. Red Fang have done their damnedest to capture that experience and drop it like an anvil into your lap, leaving you balled up in agony while throwing the horns to massive riffs and thundering rhythms.

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: