Red Fang - Murder The Mountains
Release Date: April 12, 2011
Record Label: Relapse Records
Relapse Records, long known for their ever-expanding roster of top tier metal acts, is becoming something of a musical reflection of a big-market baseball team. Like the Yankees or the Red Sox or the Phillies, Relapse is adept at picking up heavy-hitters capable of scoring home run after home run. The latest recruit to knock it out of the park are Portland, Oregon's stoner metal sluggers Red Fang. Combining thunderous, megaton riffs with blues-rock flavored swagger, Red Fang are quite the force to be reckoned with. Taking the stoner-metal blueprints laid on their first release (2009's Red Fang) and building upon them with even an even greater amount of heavy metal might and hard rock precision, Red Fang craft a highly enjoyable, entirely memorable juggernaut of dense sonic battery with Murder The Mountains.
The album opens with "Malverde", a slow-burning sludge metal bludgeoning that sees the band firing on all four cylinders right out the gate. Pummeling drums, earth-shaking bass and distortion-caked guitars are punctuated by guitarist Maurice Bryan Giles' aggressive snarl, letting the listener know first thing that Red Fang mean business. The album then shifts seamlessly into the one-two punch of "Wires" and "Hank Is Dead". While the former is a fuzzed-out slab of prime heavy metal, the latter is more akin to Queens of the Stone Age, featuring an immediately memorable vocal hook and delicious rock n' roll musicianship, all wrapped up in a blues-fueled sludge metal assault. The seven tracks that follow all follow a similar pattern as the opening three tracks, ranging from air guitar inducing fits of rock n' roll rage to murky stoner metal affairs that hit like a battering ram. And not once does it get repetitive or forgettable.
Red Fang have created something truly memorable with their Relapse debut and like any promising young player, they always have room for improvement as well. I can't wait to see what happens the next time that Red Fang steps to the plate.