Red Fang – Whales & Leeches (Relapse)

Wednesday, 6th November 2013
Rating: 8.5/10

Though an overused and poorly understood idea concerning living, the concept of ‘the simple things in life are the best’ is one apt when applied to certain kinds of music. Case in point: Red Fang. Straight-forward, driving, no-frills or notions of grandeur, just a lot of beer appreciation and joyful celebration. Building in presence for the last few years, the band seems ready now to burst into the limelight and truth be told, Whales & Leeches might be just the thing to put them there. It’s not an album that’s going to change the game, it’s just a fucking awesome ride off a mountainside.

The drive explodes from the gate with old Mastodon flavor on lead-off “DOEN”, a song so tight and energetic it’s difficult to not imagine mud-wrestling a llama into submission. Stop at random throughout other album highlights “Crows In Swine” (this one has an even stronger Mastodon vibe) or groove-tacular “1516” and you’re going to get only a taste of much of the awesome that awaits you. Longer and drawn out album centerpiece “Dawn Rising” adds in female vocals and at times even seems like a swampy ballad intended to give rise to a crocodile god (…a party god if there ever was).

And such is life on Whales and Leeches. It’s concise (almost every song weighs in under 3 minutes) and not a single piece comes close to overstaying its welcome or leaving the listener wondering ‘what am I doing here?’.  There’s little here that will be of a surprise to Red Fang fans or this style on a whole, but the focus of the band has never seemed to be reinventing the wheel, only on making the wheel as fun to ride as possible. To that end they’ve really succeeded here. Cuddle up with some Red Fang supplied filth this holiday season and feel better about yourself.

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