By Gruesome Greg
A new Red Fang record is never a bad thing. These Portland beardos inject a healthy sense of humour into their heavy rock (just watch, like, any of their videos), and they really bring it live. Anything that gives ‘em reason to tour—they hit Toronto Dec. 14—is OK by me.
That said, their third album is a pretty decent listen, even if you can’t picture ‘em playing in your living room. They pack 11 tracks into 42 minutes, making most an accessible two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half minutes long. Opener “DOEN” wastes no time in doing what it does, a chunky, upbeat riff-rock stomper in 3:19. “Blood Like Cream” is fairly radio-friendly, three-39 with one heckuva catchy chorus that commands you to turn it up—lyrically, in fact.
After a bevy of shorter cuts, seven-minute “Dawn Rising” brings back the doom, a slower, gritter number than actually kinda makes me think Alice in Chains. Maybe it’s the very Lane Staleyesque vocal, albeit with a bit of true-metal vibrato thrown in. (I swear, it almost sounds like Mike Scheidt is singing a duet on the chorus.[He actually is! – Da Ed]) “Failure” also starts off slowly with some military snare giving way to a pulsating doom riff that supersedes its predecessor—though, on the other hand, I’m not a big fan of those half-whispered vocals. From there, it’s back to the stoner rock, with “This Animal” sounding kinda like a cross between Fu Manchu and QOTSA before ending things again on an AIC-meets-Monster Magnet note with “Every Little Twist.”
There is definitely a cleaner, crisper sound on this one, the band seemingly going for a more widespread appeal, but without entirely abandoning its roots. Put it this way: Whales and Leeches is the album Queens of the Stone Age shouldda put out this year. 😉