Red Fang - Red Fang (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Red Fang

Red Fang (2009)

Sargent House

It seems these days that the waters of heavy metal revival have been tested and safe for swimming. It's a stiff combination of big riffs and heavy rhythms pushed through independent labels and shipped out to the punk and hardcore community that seems to have been wearing thin as of late. So it's strange when a new group can then come together from a variety of hard rock party bands and a few metal acts and have such a cohesive debut.

Red Fang's Red Fang is all about cranking out the riffs and taking no prisoners. But while it'd be easy to compare some of their bigger riffs to the Sword or Saviours, Red Fang's music is somehow, well, smarter. "Prehistoric Dog" rips out the gate with some crushing blows, but even by track 3, "Night Destroyer," Red Fang seems to be searching for attention-grabbing rhythmic interludes and arrangements that get the most melody out of the guitars and low end out of the bass that they can.

It's the light melodic hum that penetrates through the verses of some of the slower tracks that gives Red Fang shape and movement. But that's not saying that the swagger of the band's ghosts (Bad Wizard, Party Time, Shiny Beast) is completely missing either. "Sharks" begins the album's third act with some thrash-party beer-chugging riffs. And through some act of strange dissolution, as the songs progress through the album, they lose more and more clarity in the production, becoming buzzing, sludgy messes of distortion. Which is the perfect stage for the heavy shuffle of the album's closer, "Witness."

Red Fang isn't changing the game. Their formation might even have been cold and calculated. But any band whose video starts with them shotgunning beers and then running out into a field to beat the crap out of live action role-players has got at least enough self-respect and a sense of humor solid enough to carry them through any lingering cliché.