BAND: Red Fang / ALBUM: Whales and Leeches / LABEL: Relapse Records
Release: 10.3.2013 (US), 10.11.2013 (Germany), 10.14.2013 (UK & World)
With Red Fang’s newest album, Whales and Leeches, coming out in October, many fans are wondering: can Red Fang follow such a strong last release with an even stronger new release, or will they be doomed to do as countless other bands have done and let us down on their third record? After all, their second album, Murder the Mountains is hands down one of the mightiest releases of the past decade; taking all of the best elements of Red Fang‘s self-titled debut and then proceeded to kick them into hyper drive.
My question is…have they pulled out what is set to be a strong contender for the fucking “Record of The Year” with Wales and Leeches? Quite possibly.
Whales and Leeches has a different much edgier feel than Murder the Mountains, which was an almost punk experience. I say almost…Red Fang is not a punk band, but you can certainly hear the punk rock influence in there. Whales and Leeches walks the line between a sludge-factory and a prog festival attended by punks. The musicianship on Murder the Mountains trembles in Whales and Leeches’ immense anthem-toting shadow. It’s almost eclipsed by it completely. And leading that anthem is: Bryan Giles (Guitar/Vox), Aaron Beam ( Bass/Vox), David Sullivan ( Guitar) and John Sherman (Drums)
“Blood Like Cream” is the undeniable proof of this. The pounding chorus screaming: “Churn it up!“— is a fist-pumping, mosh-pitting, vocal-cord-scraping monster. Visions of me losing my voice at a summer festival come to mind as this track blisters your ear drums for three and a half minutes. It’s half evil, baby!!!! I caught Red Fang at Australia’s Sound Wave Festival earlier this year and they are a live act that you just have to see to believe! I had a bangover that lasted for days…but I digress. Get out your straws, kids, and take a big, juicy suck of some “Blood Like Cream”…
That was gooood, wasn’t it? Told you so.
Red Fang manages to pack in all that you’d want and more in Whales and Leeches. With most tracks landing under the four-minute-mark, they still manage to stuff a lifetime worth of riffs and time signatures in this album. Red Fang mastered the art of shift time signatures so seamlessly that the untrained ear will barely even notice the change. It’s truly a thing of tasty, hard-rocking ninja beauty. Well played, Red Fang. Well played, indeed.
“Crows in Swine” opens with a hit and a smash. Like a storm splitting a tree. Actually, that sums up this entire record: it IS recorded thunderbolts and lightning…very very frightening!! Actually, the only thing that is truly frightening is the pace at which Red Fang are growing in popularity. Whales and Leeches is set to hurdle them towards unknown and well-deserved heights.
This is a record full of anthems, and every track manages to be as catchy as it is musically outstanding. In the process, Red Fang have possibly redefined what it means to be undefinable.
Whales and Leeches delivers on all fronts, from the manly, beastly beer-fuelled, visceral vocals to the distorted (but not too distorted) guitars and bass. There’s an almost Cliff Burton-ess quality to the bass tone; a Lemmy-like quality with a “fuck off!” attitude and drunken cock-sure feel.
Whales and Leeches could literally take hard rock bass playing to the next level with the playing of Aaron Beam. He slots in nicely with the kick drum but is not afraid to venture off and act as a third guitar, and this is one of the most appealing qualities to Red Fang, I find.
You can hear the individual mastering of instruments and their players working off each other as each track rolls. This is reflected and executed perfectly in the vocal changes by Giles too; with each member having their parts to play. All having that manly-burnt-grunt to their style and yet all contributing something different. Whales and Leeches amplifies this – I want to say to 11, but that may be ridiculous.
With an abundance of anthems and outstanding musicianship all around, Whales and Leeches reveal to us the strong songwriters and instrumental intellects that Red Fang have grown to be; an utter force to be reckoned with.
Whales and Leeches is my pick for “Record Of The Year.” Seriously. It stands as a testament to what hard work and beer drinking can accomplish when mixed correctly.
SUMMATION: It is simply fucking awesome. I can’t see it leaving my rotation anytime soon. Buy it or be damned!
I’d give Whales and Leeches six skulls if we had that many! 5 outta 5 instead!
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Photo Credit: James Rexroad
About the Writer:
Rob Ryles lives in Melbourne, Australia. When he’s not writing for RockRevolt Magazine covering all of the things happening on his continent, taking sexy-selfies or trying to bring back that 80′s pornstar look, you can find him drinking in a bar, playing guitar & singing in his punk rock band Brick.