Red Fang are the first band I’ve got into through videos since, oh let me see, umm, Cameo, maybe? Stumbling across the video for ‘Prehistoric Dogs’ made my week and the follow-ups were all good too.  They were funny, heavy, smart – how could I not go for an LP the next time I found myself on Amazon slightly tipsy? I bought Murder The Mountains in September 2013 because they’d given me so much fun it seemed rude not to.  When it arrived boasting vinyl thick enough to stop a bullet, a cut-out sleeve and a picture of Donald Trump’s true form on the cover … that was just the cream on the biscuit.

Donald Trump without his cloaking device activated
Donald Trump without his cloaking device activated

I have seen Red Fang described as ‘stoner rock’ but that doesn’t really cut it for me, they don’t have that laid back attitude, sure this is a band who’ve listened to tinny Sabbath cassettes around a camp fire a few too many times, but this is undercut by a real driving urgency, a chunk more thrash metal in the stew.  A better comparison might be a more energised Melvins, or Tad, with a bit less weirdness in the mix.  There is definitely the same slightly wonky backwoods feel about these Portlanders and touches of the old grunge harmonies about the more melodic cuts like ‘Hank Is Dead’ and ‘Wires’.  This is very much a band with a sense of humour and not a joke one at all.

Red Fang Murder The Mountains 06

I like Murder The Mountains and it’s a real grower.  It all seemed a bit murky to me at first but after enough listens it all started to coalesce and the melodies hit home properly.  Where they nail it just right, like the monstrously heavy ‘Throw Up’, it becomes a thing of beauty.  ‘Throw Up’ is amazing, the best heavy track I’ve listened to in ages, imagine Master Of Puppets played by really angry farm hands and you’re half way there, not that there’s anything remotely sloppy here, this cuts like a knife, there’s even a slight touch of Alice in Chains on this one.  Just listen to how deep that bass is – subsonic, baby!

Now the scum from the creek is filling up your cheeks,
and you can hardly speak
While the bones in your brain grind themselves away,
they will make you sane
If the steps of your path reflect your building wrath,
they will be your last
And you can thank me

Whilst ‘Throw Up’ is worth the price of the LP alone, mention must also be made of the spooky, atmospheric slow build of ‘The Undertow’, which calls Tool to mind, which is surely never a bad thing? Should I ever have to soundtrack an epic film about wandering a post-apocalyptic wasteland sorrowfully, it’s in the bag.  Just brilliant and worth the price of the LP alone, or did I just do that cliché? Other honorary mentions must go to the positively hurtling ‘Hank Is Dead’, which has some great vocals* and the impressively hefty, malevolent ‘Into The Eye’.

Red Fang Murder The Mountains 03

Chris Funk** produces this album just right, no mean feat to get those levels of clarity and smoke-wreathed fuzz perfectly balanced.  It goes without saying that the musicianship here is absolutely first-rate too, so I just said it.

It’s nice in these days of (slips into old fart mode) iTunes, Spotify and instant gratification that there are gentlemen like Red Fang out there still making old-fashioned growers and LPs like Murder The Mountains you actually have to listen to carefully to enjoy.

All hail the backwoodsmen!

566 Down.

spotify:album:5RQlhjpn4qz3q2vRrAGYD9

*along with a fucking genius video:

Mind you, so has ‘Wires’:

**of The Decemberists, no less.

44 thoughts on “Subsonic, Baby!

  1. Have a real good friend named Metal Todd who moved to Oregon in the U.S and he digs these guys. I sent him your post thru Facebook! Knowing him like I do,he will dig it!

    Like

  2. Red Fang. I brushed shoulders with these guys. We were supposed to see them on a 3-band bill that went Red Fang, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon. By the tie we got to Toronto and to the venue, DEP was on-stage going crazy and Red Fang were loading out the door (which is when we went past them). All I can say is they look like hard workers? I dunno, it coulda been roadies, for all I knew about what these guys look like.

    But I’m all for hearing more of them. Yes yes yes!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Last summer at the cottage, past midnight, a little intoxicated — I ordered a $150 Transformer toy(s) and a bunch of singles by Def Leppard and Whitesnake. About 5 orders total, over $200 all said and done, with no memory of what I bought. Thankfully I liked them once arrived!!!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh man how many times have I done this, gotten into my cups and then ordered stuffs online… a bunch. But I’m not usually so drunk that I can’t remember the order… it’s just that mental check of “should I do this?” is long gone. The only thing that saves me, at times like these, is that I’m cheap and I hardly ever order anything expensive, drunk or sober. I’m a bargain hunter, even in my cups!

        Liked by 2 people

      3. It adds a little chaos to the pot.

        Lord knows how many times I’ve sat there desperately hoping someone will outbid me on eBay. I have been known to cheer.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It absolutely is, tons of fun. There’s so much good music out there, and finding greatness (for cheap) is not a bad mission to have in life! Plus, there’s the added benefit of that warm, pleasant glow that accompanies reaching that perfect level of inebriation. Not sloppy or gone too far, not even close. Just mellow and expansive. And ordering music! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oof given this site, walked right into that one! But I still agree with Mike, CDs are still fine by me, and a lot of times at least half the price. I shop music by volume, you see…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Is Mr Trump running for Welsh Prime Minister or something?

    But seriously, folks, albums that demand multiple listens to start decoding them are great. I remember having that experience with (ahem) Be Here Now, still an under-rated Oasis album I reckon. Though the heaviosity here is exponentially greater (I expect. The vids wouldn’t play for me).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He is possibly the unclean spawn of Yog-Sothoth. Possibly.

      I fear in 2015 growers are a bit of a thing of the past. A lot of my fave music I didn’t like first time round.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is good. I’ve heard of Red Fang, but I never gave them a listen. Definitely not what I’d call stoner rock either. It’s like late 70/early 80s metal. A tip of the hat to some classic British metal. They also put me in mind of Corrosion of Conformity a bit…with more of a sense of humor.

    Bonus points for having Brian Posehn in the video for “Wires”.

    Liked by 1 person

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