redfangwhalesRed Fang

Whales And Leeches

 

01. DOEN
02. Blood Like Cream
03. No Hope
04. Crows In Swine
05. Voices Of The Dead
06. Behind The Light
07. Dawn Rising
08. Failure
09. 1516
10. This Animal
11. Every Little Twist

[10/15/13]
[Relapse Records]

Although Red Fang made their entrance into the metal-world with the beer-swilling raucous stoner rock of ‘Prehistoric Dog‘, anyone who has delved into their albums knows that there’s a lot more their sound. Previous records, Red Fang and Murder The Mountains were comprised of equal parts head swinging rock ‘n’ roll and mopey-faced dark stoner jams and that juxtaposition is all the more clear here on Whales and Leeches.

On the one hand, we have tracks such as ‘Blood Like Cream‘ which, when you’ll hear it you’ll understand why it was chosen as the first song to release to the public. It has all the hallmarks of a future live favourite with it’s monolithic riffs, simplistic but utterly infectious chorus and a bridge that pushes the song into the realm of some of the best material the band have ever put together. Alongside it, ‘This Animal‘, whilst losing the clean vocals of the aforementioned lead off single, still moulds an abrupt three minute scorching rock piece and album opener ‘DOEN‘ swaggers through the gates all-guns-blazing in a classic Red Fang manner.

And yet, sat directly alongside those relatively upbeat pieces are the darker side of Red Fang. ‘Dawn Rising‘ rides a moody mid-tempo riff for a good portion of it’s seven minute duration and is commanded at times by the distinct laboured croon of Yob‘s Mike Scheidt — it’s not an entirely new side to the band but here it’s much more refined and thought out. These doomy riffs are now earth-moving carriers of groove rather than blurry eyed slow rock riffs. Following directly on from that, ‘Failure‘ asserts itself as the mid-point between the ‘less is more’ modern day mantra of Baroness and the gruff southern-fried force of Black Tusk, before collapse on the most apt final line possible — ‘you don’t know me, but you will‘.

Before, the band created a stark contrast with these sounds, seemingly wanting to explore both sides of the coin sometimes to the point where it was a disadvantage. Here, however, they’re stitched together seamlessly with the Fang creating a sound that is as infectious as it’s always been but much murkier. It’s not enough of a departure that previous fans will find themselves in unknown territory but it’s enough that it’s noticeable — call it knowing their sound, maturing or whatever you would like, the bottom line is it’s improving the music and that’s all that matters.

Red Fang’s Whales And Leeches gets…

 

4/5

 

– DL

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