It seems that Portland’s Red Fang get better and better with every release and the Ross Robinson produced ‘Only Ghosts’ is probably their most accomplished release to date.
The album is a breath of fresh air at a time when a lot of music is very serious. Red Fang have mastered the fine art of blending heavyrock with prog influences and some much needed tongue-in-cheek action. Whilst their contemporaries in Mastodon are embracing prog-metal, High On Fire are getting really gnarly and Baroness explore new more melodic territories, Red Fang are producing something that is back-to-basics and fun. However, it is by no means simple. These are very carefully crafted songs by four incredibly talented musicians.
Opening with the raw and raging ‘Flies’, it sets the mood from the get go and the energy is just as high in ‘Shadows’ and ‘The Deep’. In contrast to those, ‘The Smell Of The Sound’ and ‘I Am A Ghost’ take a much slower pace and demonstrate this band isn’t a one-trick pony. They continue the variety on songs like ‘Cut It Short’, that wouldn’t sound out of place in the middle of Queens Of The Stone Age album, and the finale ‘Living A Lye’ sounding like the aformentioned Mastodon.
The diversity in the songs on offer keep you interested from start to finish. Vocals are split between bass player Aaron Bean and guitarist Bryan Giles, and its nice to have the gravely hardcore singing balanced out with a more anthemic Josh Homme-style melodic approach. The album could do without the interlude ‘Flames’, which comes in very akwardly placed as the third song and kills the mood somewhat just as you get into it. Aside from that, this is highly recommended beer-chugging party album. Grab a beer and enjoy!
‘Only Ghosts’ by Red Fang is released on October 14th on Relapse Records.
Words by Tom Drakett (@tomdrakett)