Review: Red Fang – Arrows

Everyone’s favourite beer-crushing, zombie-killing metal heroes Red Fang return with their highly anticipated album Arrows. I always like it, when bands aren’t taking themselves 100% seriously. And everyone who has seen one of RF’s videos will know, that they like to serve their videos with a pinch (or a bucket-load) of humor.

What they do take 100% serious however, is their music. First off: everyone who expects another Prehistoric Dog (like I did at first) is gonna be disappointed. That’s why it took me a little to warm up to this record. But what I got when I did warm up to the album’s unusual structure, was a class-A, fuzz-loaded stoner record.

The big reason, the album’s build sounded a little weird to me, are the first three tracks. Take It Back, Unreal Estate and Arrows are all great songs (especially the title track), but they’re all kinda slow. The first song, that shifts into a faster gear, is the sublime My Disaster. That’s probably only a problem, if you’re an old fart like me, who’s accustomed to fast paced album-starters. The tempo stays up with Two High, before dropping slightly in the form of the “in-your-face”-attack that is Anodyne.

Mid-album interludes are pretty rare these days, but Arrows sports one. Either they felt like the second half of the album deserved its own intro, or they wanted the tracklist to look longer. Either way, Interop-Mod is a pretty unnecessary minute of time. But this slip is fully redeemed by the 10000 tons of heaviness and fuzz that is Fonzi Scheme.

It gets a little depressive and grungy with the next track, but it’s still heavy as all hell: Days Collide reminds me a little of the sludgier stuff from the band Hole. It nonetheless has the trademark sound of Red Fang on it though.

A full-out speed attack follows with Rabbits in Hives. And just like the punk-anthems of old, it is over in under two minutes. Some things are beautiful, because they’re fleeting, I guess. The band goes full doom mode on Why, before abandoning it entirely in favour of a hardcore-approach on Dr. Owl. It probably shouldn’t work, to jump from one genre to another in quick succession, like they do it on this record, but it somehow totally works.

At the start of this article, I mentioned that I like it, when records start the traditional way. I don’t like tradition however, when it comes to album-closers. In my humble opinion, albums should close with a bang, rather than a whimper (aka a ballad). And Arrows totally satisfy my needs with the exceptional Funeral Coach. Great riffs, great groove. And so much fuzz, you almost taste the desert sand.

It seems like Red Fang keeps getting better with each album they release, but somehow I feel they’re not as big as they should be. Maybe an European tour would help them get more appreciation over here. Think about it RF!

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