Red Fang ‘Only Ghosts’ Review: West coast metal act rock with refined fury on new Ross Robinson produced release.
Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang have carved their own distinct hybrid of metal: a healthy mix of sludge and stoner with a dash of heavy 90s-era alternative rock thrown in for good measure. And their latest release, Only Ghosts (out October 14th via Relapse Records) shows their continued evolution in dynamics, sonic textures and engaging arrangements.
The album kicks off with the bombastic Flies, veering from seismic fury to swirling psychedelia, while follow-up track Cut it Short has a decidedly Queens of the Stone Age vibe, with a catchy angular guitar riff and melodic vocals. Elsewhere the group expand their sound on tracks like Shadows, which adds post-punk textures and barked cavernous vocals that recall Killing Joke at their most furious.
Produced by veteran producer Ross Robinson (Deftones, Machine Head, At The Drive-In, Slipknot), with Joe Bareesi (Kyuss, Melvins) on mixing duties, Only Ghosts is easily the best sounding album in the band’s career. Tracks like the eerie, ambient instrumental (Flames), darkly trippy Smell of the Sound and the Middle-Eastern flavored I Am A Ghost are rich in atmospherics, dynamics and textural weight.
Likewise, the songs are also tighter, with more immediate hooks than their 2013 release Whales and Leeches, as shown on the anthemic earworm Not For You, and the frenetic groove of The Deep.
All told, Only Ghosts should further elevate Red Fang in the current American metal landscape alongside peers like Mastodon and Baroness, providing a healthy (and much-needed) balance of melody and furor. It’s an album made for both banging your head and shaking your ass, both of which should be in evidence on their 2016 fall tour.
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