There's an untold amount of new bands just waiting to be discovered. Some will be discovered and just as quickly forgotten. Some will be discovered, appreciated for a brief time and then forgotten. The very lucky few will be discovered, loved and will continue to be loved by a few, who will spread the word to a few and, higher power be willing, the few will become many over a long and illustrious career.
I have no idea what the future holds for Red Fang, but goddamn, they prick up these tired ears, and I hope they do so for many years to come. Heaven knows the biggest cliche in music reviewing is comparing bands to other bands, but truly, the only way to describe them is taking everything you love about Mastodon and put it in a blender with everything you love about Queens of the Stone Age. Add some Jose Cuervo margarita mix, a dash of bitters and you have the gloriousness that is Red Fang.
Whales and Leeches is the band's third full-length, and if there's any justice on this spinning orb, this album will make Red Fang bigger than the sound that's coming out of these Motörheadphönes. This is music to conquer a country by.
There's been a marked, steady progression from each of the band's three albums, but the chasm between 2011's Murder the Mountains and Whales and Leeches is beyond measure. The fine craftsmen that drummer John Sherman, bassist Aaron Beam and guitarists Bryan Giles and David Sullivan have become is truly remarkable. The band has been unfairly dismissed as "stoner rock" but no wake 'n bakers I've ever known are this ambitious. One needs only to listen to tracks like "1516" and the epic "Dawn Rising" to know that these Portland boys are ready to take it to the next level. The songs contained on this slab are some of the best we're bound to hear this year, and this is a year for some great music. There's an true intensity that can't be ignored - when Bryan Giles sings "mountains fall and oceans rise, fill the world and watch it die", you listen. This is a fearless shock-and-awe campaign of an album that's deserving of your attention, and if you don't give it your due attention, it'll grab you by the throat and demand it anyway.
8.5 / 10
Posted March 3, 2019, 10:01 a.m.
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