Album Review – Red Fang, Only Ghosts

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Red Fang

Only Ghosts - Relapse Records

After spending the last few years vigorously touring the world alongside such bands as Mastodon, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Black Tusk and Kyuss Lives, Oregon based heavy rock giants Red Fang have re-emerged with their latest full length album, Only Ghosts, which was released via Relapse Records yesterday, this is their fourth studio album, their third for Relapse Records, and it follows on from 2013’s Whales and Leeches. Red Fang have now been in existence for eleven years and their latest release shows a refinement in their hard driving complex rock, on Only Ghosts they seem to have honed their sound and incorporated some darker influences alongside the fist pumping high tempo tracks that make up the core of the album.

Flies opens the album with piledriving drums and a distorted dirty guitar riff, the twin vocals kick in, one raw and furious, one melodic, and I’m pretty much sold before the song is half way done, the album continues to impress as the following track, Cut It Short, which is another crushing number with a pounding beat and overdriven guitars, but crucially it’s nothing like the first track and features a spikier riff that builds to an almighty chorus. There’s a brief interlude as the instrumental Flames washes over you with waves of feedback and lets you get your breath, but Only Ghosts swiftly reasserts itself with the punishing No Air, this is slower, heavier and more intense number which conjures up visions of a contemporary Black Sabbath. Shadows starts with a heartfelt fuck yeah and it swiftly kicks the album back into ffth gear before Not For You knocks it into overdrive. The final tracks on Only Ghosts take the album down a different path, The Smell Of The Sound heads into darker territory with it’s slower sinister vibe and dark keyboard touches, The Deep ups the tempo but maintains the shadowy feel of the final quartet of tracks. I Am A Ghost channels Rob Zombie with a malevolent riff and drum beat before the final number, Living In Lye, serves up an epic punishing song to close the album

At it’s core this a rock album but there are alternative influences in the mix that stops the self indulgence creeping in, alongside the rock influences I pick up distinct elements of the like of Killing Joke, Early Foo Fighters and The Cult in their sound alongside the more obvious influences, this is no guitar solo ridden rock cliché album, this is a rock album done as it oughta be. The band themselves have stated that working with the producer, Ross Robinson, on Only Ghosts has been a transformative experience, on the basis of this album I can only concur with that as this is Red Fang‘s best album to date. 

Only Ghosts can be ordered via Relapse Records here and via Red Fang here