It’s been roughly a decade since Portland’s Red Fang blessed the music world with Murder in the Mountains. A sonic masterpiece that has stood the test of time among a sea of white noise stoner/grunge metal albums. The breakout second studio album made the band a household name and in my humble opinion never gets old no matter how many times I have listened. Arrows, their latest release reunites the band with producer Chris Funk who looks to bring back some of the old magic from those days while still highlighting the growth and progression of the band. “We’re definitely exploring new territory,” says guitarist/vocalist Bryan Giles. “And I’m very happy about that. I wouldn’t wanna be in this band if we kept doing the same thing over and over again.”
Arrows begins with what can only be described as two minutes of abstract and guttural poetry reading. The two-minute intro track Take it Back is different from the way the band typically does things. According to Vocalist Aaron Beam “, I like the idea of the record starting in a way that doesn’t make any sense at all for a Red Fang record.” It’s the type of introduction to an album that confuses you before it punches you in the mouth. The transition to the next track Unreal Estate hits you like a ton of bricks. The song chugs along at a nefarious pace as images of live shows dance in my mind with my head bouncing along to the thundering beats. The first six tracks on this album are nearly flawless and unskippable. I found myself restarting the album once Anodyne was finished so that I could fully wrap my head around what I was listening to. I suppose you could compare this listening experience to judging a pie baking contest. Taking and digesting little bites slowly and in pieces to fully gain an appreciation of each offering. After much consideration, the top prizes of the first half of the album most certainly go to “Arrows”, “Two High”, and “Anondye”. In contrast, the undisputed winner of the second half is “Fonzi Scheme”. A sludgy number interlaced with strings, not typical as far as I can tell in stoner metal albums. It’s probably one of the more unique songs on the album and for has gained the most repeat listens. The final verdict for me is that Arrows is without a doubt their best album in a decade. It’s fun but not as over the top “Jokey” as previous releases. It’s an album that in moments begs to be taken seriously and I truly think fans will appreciate the attempt to switch things up while remaining at the core, truly a Red Fang album.
Must Listen to- Arrows, Anondye, Fonzi Scheme
For more on Red Fang check out: