It pains me to say this, but Red Fang might be one hit wonders. After the huge success of their first single “Prehistoric Dog” (thanks in large part to a hilarious LARP-inspired video), the band has released its first full length album entitled Murder the Mountains. The downtuning, the chunky 70’s inspired riffs, and the lack of intros or other album BS is a nice throwback to a simpler time.There is a lot to like on this album, but nothing sticks with you as well as their prior work.
The album has a few stand-outs, such as “Dirt Wizard” and “Number Thirteen,” but they seriously sound like Kyuss B-sides. Producer Chris Funk (fellow Oregonian and The Decemeberists member) does his best to make the album sound clean without being synthetic. The instruments are well balanced and the vocals weave through one another very well. The band works best when they have passages to jam through, instead of focusing on repeating the same lines over and over.
If you like Mastodon or The Sword, I can see this joining your CD collection, but I guarantee it will just make you want to listen to Blood Mountain or Gods of the Earth again. The track lengths bounce from short and gritty to long and droning, like “The Undertow,” a five-minute piece that sounds like it was ripped from the Tool album by the same name. There is nothing simple or boring about the songs, but there also isn’t anything new or exciting. Walking the line of being influenced by your influences instead of copying them is tough (just ask Wolfmother), but until Red Fang creates a sound that is unique to them, it’s going to be tough to make waves in the metal ocean.