Music: Red Fang – Only Ghosts

Mesh Of The Titans

Just in time for the change of the weather, and with the cold air slowly seeping down from Stoner Rock Mountain, what better way to warm us to our metal cockles than some hearty strong brewed sludge metal coffee with a hint of psychedelic sugar, bringing comfort and smiles after a long day chopping words, or something of a far more active/physical nature. The heavy rock mountain gods of Oregon that are Red Fang are back with a new album ‘Only Ghosts’ (2016) just in time to briefly distract us from the feral lunacy that the world seems to be nurturing the world at the moment.

Red Fang’s first two albums (‘Red Fang’ 2009, ‘Murder The Mountains’ 2011) sounded like they were made high up in the wilds where mountain sides were used as drums, deep gold mines for vocals and waterfalls for cascading riffs that swirled with relentless power as if capturing the raw power of nature and channelling it through four bear wrestling men, then released it on vinyl, the bass having been chiselled out with lumberjack axes. There were loving notes of Queens Of The Stone Age (plus Kyuss, Baroness, Mastodon), but in as much as QOTSA may have the open desert in their DNA, there was full moon howling mountain wolves in Red Fang.

Red Fang - Only Ghosts

‘Whales And Leeches’ 2103 felt more like the mountain men had dropped some wild mushrooms in their brew and stumbled down the hills slightly, meandering at times into more experimental fare, if not always successfully or coherently across the entire album. The experimentation was necessary and welcome.

Now with ‘Only Ghosts’ the balance of mountain bashing and sonic mind tripping has struck the perfect recipe. Bursting out of the gate like a greyhound crossed with a bear, the opening track ‘Flies’ runs a relatively gentle first few bars of distraction only to return and scream in your face like you’re about to go to battle with Titans for control over the Earth. It also sounds beautifully melted snow crystal clear, that and the entire album, all ably moulded and mixed by Joe Barresi who has previously worked with Tool, Melvins and Queens Of The Stone Age to name but a few.

Red Fang also brought in none other that Ross Robinson to produce the album (in his studio in California) and it’s inherently clear the focus, coherency and corralling of the wild joy that he has brought to the band. Having worked with such diverse folk as Korn, Slipknot and even The Cure Ross is a dab hand at honing the true soul and essence of any band, then capturing it forever more. All the raw organic essential ingredients are there from the previous albums, just in a much better ratio, clarity of use and because of that lucidity it actually sounds more epic and louder, tectonic plate smashing loader.

‘No Air’ in particular straddles the whole vista, sweeping from heavy sludge to peak tipping trippiness flight. The pummelling joy of ‘Shadows’ thunderously hypnotic in it’s waves of bass all triggered by the glint of a opening cry of ‘Fuck Yeah’ at the beginning of the track roars with the giddy joy that has always permeated Red Fangs tracks, and can always be seen in their ridiculously fun videos.

‘Shadows’ video:

‘The Smell Of The Sound’ sounds like a cliff been slowly sawn in half by rock music, epic and slowly builds into the intoxicated swirl of a peyote fuelled Native Indian fire dance. Followed swiftly by the raw dirty groove of ‘The Deep’.

Finishing with the wonderful frenzied high note of ‘Living In Lye’, a speed laden onslaught that effectively needs new volume levels to be invented to be able to do it justice, thus allowing it to finally carry you off in it’s closing shamanistic guitar riffs, having turned you into a Stoner Rock Eagle.


Red Fang ‘Only Ghosts’ is out now.
To listen to the album go here >