Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Red Fang - Murder the Mountains

Like showering at my moms house, stepping into a genre I don't normally pay attention to just feels really weird, but I really liked the new video from Red Fang. I liked it so much that I decided to check out the album. I didn't buy it, I downloaded it because Relapse owes my label a serious amount of money. Which is honestly too bad because if anyone in the underground deserves yours or my money, its this band. I put these hard working fellas up for the night a few years ago and we shot the shit and drank PBRs til 4 in the morning on my porch. I feel more inclined to send these champs a box of frozen hot pockets rather than giving money to a label that earns its way on the backs of smaller and less fortunate labels.

Hey, this is about how rad Red Fang is, so I'll do my laundry at my mom's instead of here. On "Murder the Mountains" these beards show a great stature of maturity and songs nailed to the fucking wall with 8 inch spikes. They sound like they're having a fucking blast playing these songs and it exhudes throughout the album. What I feel sets these guys apart from their counterparts of the genre is that they never quite let you get bored, which I easily do both with this genre (Indian, Electric Wizard, Reverend Bizarre) and even other genres. There are no token "tripped out" bong rip breakdowns, no silly witch intros, and not a bunch of generic Maiden riffs mucking about, basically this album contains zero bullshit. I'm really liking how playful and experimental they've gotten with some interesting and innovative second guitar work, use of piano, acoustic guitar and synth / atmospheric parts. Each member totally shines as an instrumentalist for the majority of the record. Their playing really drives these songs forth with a solid live sound and a familiar fervor.

Two strengths that Red Fang bring to the table: groove with more power than most metal bands are achieving today, and GOOD FUCKING RIFFS. If you don't believe me check out the song "Number Thirteen" at about 2:26. That riff is like an airplane full of coffee smooching your prostate right in the fucking brain stem. The riffs are not cheesy and rather memorable. I'm sure I'll be humming the riffs along with the record by my fourth listen. In fact what initially brought me the point of giving the whole album a listen was that after seeing the video for "Wires" only one time, I was singing the chorus to myself in the kitchen a few days later.

As always, a band jumping on with Relapse is a big step. With Murder the Mountains they have taken it in stride and shown that this was a wise move for all parties involved. I hope Relapse really pans out for Red Fang because I know they deserve everything they achieve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Demonaz - March of the Norse

In 1999 I was literally pining for the new Immortal album "At the Heart of Winter" to come out on a daily basis. Demonaz was then and still remains my favorite guitarist based solely on what he did on the first four Immortal albums. I had spoken to Harald (Demonaz) on the telephone earlier that year after I had heard he had quit Immortal due to carpal tunnel. He assured me the he would be back playing guitar in no time and all would be fine for us die hard Immortal fans. What happened after hearing the album was nothing short of a breakdown. I hated it. I pretended that it didn't exist for 5 years or so. To this day it takes a bit of a memory jog to correct my notion that Immortal died in an ice storm in 1998. After Damned in Black and Sons of Northern Darkness came out...and I heard them, I was further proven that this band was unrecognizably disfigured. In recent times I have become a tad more forgiving, and I can listen to At the Heart of Winter once a year or so without puking. Though laughable I thought the "I" self-titled album was somewhat fun and the newest reformed Immortal album was the better of the "era 2" albums.

To me the new style that Immortal (and this album) dons is cruel and criminal due to the overwhelming amount of creativity, ingenuity and character that the earlier days had. March of the Norse sounds like something straight out of 1986 only with far worse and more flaccid, underwhelming production than bands were achieving those days. March of the Norse could pass as an embarrassing Bathory album on any day of the week. The arena rock solos and leads are just about enough to give me the runs. The only redeeming quality found on March of the Norse is decent song-craft. Two riffs per song played in two different alternating keys for dramatic effect, acoustic interludes, alternating between chugging electric guitar riffs and ring out type riffs, then choruses about mountains and trees repeated until the song fades out. If that sounds like a good time to you nine times over, then you're in for a party, man!