Red Fang

Whales & Leeches

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    8
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On their third album, Red Fang unleash an album hell-bent on taking the world back to a time before stoner metal got lost in outer space with Whales and Leeches. Offering up a skuzzier, more thoroughly beer-soaked and shirtless take on early Mastodon, the Portland, Oregon band deliver an album that manages to get psychedelic without abandoning the non-stop riff-fests that made their first two albums such a welcome change of pace. This allows the album to operate on two levels, making it as perfect to listen to at a raging house party as it is while lying on the floor and contemplating the subtle nuances of a black light poster. To create their gnarly head trip of an album, the band once again went into the studio with Chris Funk. Though Funk's main gig with the Decemberists might seem to be about as far from Red Fang as you're likely to get, the producer's penchant for intricacy helps to lend the album a certain depth, channeling the band's inclination toward brute force into something altogether more expansive while still keeping the grittiness of their sound intact. This helps to elevate the album above being just another stoner rock record, putting it in the company of rippers like Leviathan, who managed to get weird while still keeping things plenty heavy. No matter how deep their sound might get, however, it's clear that Red Fang are a down to earth band who aren't afraid of getting dirty, so while they may be staring at the stars, they're still laying in the gutter.

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