Portland’s own Red Fang are a stoner rock tour-de-force. They take no prisoners and leave no low end rumblings unturned. Comprised of former members of Bad Wizard, Last of the Juanitas, Dark Forces, and Shiny Beast, these good friends have delivered an album equally beer fueled as it is hazily smoky. On their Sargent House released self-titled debut album, Red Fang prove there’s room for another heavy grooving, hard rocking band in the pacific northwest. Much like their peers Big Business and the Melvins, these boys have a strong penchant for the lower tone of things, with deep rolling bass lines and a rough yet melodic bark of a voice controlling the mix. Completing their sound are crisp drums that pound while keeping creative timing and guitar lines that blaze with fuzz and sludge.
“Prehistoric Dog” kicks off the album with a bang, a gigantic pummeling of a bang. Red Fang blast out of the gate with their own Black Sabbath influenced fluid guitar and bass riffs culminating with the punkier attitude of Black Flag. Enormous guitar riffs that flow with the greatest of ease are the highlight of this and many other tracks, sounding similar to The Sword, but minus the ancient medieval imagery. Also serving as the first single, with an incredibly hilarious music video, “Prehistoric Dog” is addictive and only seems to get better with repeat listens. This is the music Guitar Hero was made for, and that energy and guitar magic will soak into your memory. Whether you enjoy the complex and intelligent side of heavy rock or just want to find a new record to pop open a 30 pack and head bang to, they provide it all. “Sharks” is a storming track that make you want to get in your car and just put the gas to the floor. Rowdy punk vocals only add fuel to the fire as this short but concise track roars into its late tempo shift. These fellas have certainly mastered their booze soaked basement rock, and it shows in the flawlessness of their playing.
It’s not all hard charging party metal, though, as “Humans Remain Human Remains” trails down an eerie path of hypnotic guitar whines with a tribal rhythm section. Just as you begin to find yourself getting lost in the fog of it, dreary processed vocals kick in to power this psychedelic jam, a quality change of pace for the album. The hard charging, beer swigging power comes quickly back on the expertly shifting “Good to Die” that storms in and out, with a guitar solo that is indeed powerful enough to melt some faces. “Witness” contains a phenomenal drum beat that speeds up and slows down at will, while the guitars have a southern fried twang to them in their assault. Stomping grooves give way to manic sprints and then come back without feeling overly complex or indulgent. Red Fang have created a monster; a snarling, vicious, ravenous monster that you can’t help but love, and I am all the more grateful for it.