REVIEW: RED FANG – “Only Ghosts”
Rose City inhabitants Red Fang have brewed a delightful musical batch of riff laden and heavy rocking tunes designed to burrow into your psyche and cast out your wandering mind on ‘Only Ghosts’. Two of the best things from Portland, Oregon beer and Red Fang. Put together your favorite mix of ass kicking stouts, lagers, India Pale Ales, and a few barrel-aged beasts and party with Bryan Giles (guitar, vocals), Aaron Beam (bass, vocals), David Sullivan (lead guitar), and John Sherman (drums) as they ransack your garage with ‘Only Ghosts’.
As with their previous work, the music is sturdy, quirky, and tastes like chicken. You’ll find each of these songs creeping into your brain from the first listen. Edgy guitar work, outstanding bowel cleansing bass, firm and tantalizing drums, coupled with vocals that capture all the subtle (and not so subtle) moods that all lie waiting with gleaming eyes on this album. To make things even better, the production and recording is worlds better than ‘Whales and Leeches’. The sonic intent of the band is retained with the work of each individual coming through loud and clear.
“Flies” gets the action started with its catchy chorus. While the bass guitar work on the entire album is outstanding, I loved the bass sound on this one particularly before the bridge leading into the wailing guitar solo. The minimalist bridge and guitar work in “Cut It Short” had me thinking of Queens of the Stone Age, which isn’t a bad thing. This tune has unusual phrasing while creating a series of compelling riffs that build up into a crunchy chorus. I’m not sure what the point of “Flames” is. It is an interesting experiment, but also sounds a bit like filler.
The song “No Air” appears to have been designed to rend the breath from your chest with gravel bottom rhythms and gritty guitars physically pumping your sternum. Mix in the hearty stick work of John Sherman and the raspy vocals of Bryan Giles and you get an outstanding song. The chugging riffs add fuel to the fire built on “Shadows”. The drum and bass do the heavy lifting to propel this song while the warped and angular guitar solos give it plenty of dynamics to fascinate the listener. “Not Into You” has a catchy power pop feel without getting stupid or mushy. This song is sure to inspire some sweat soaked action on the dance floor. “The Smell of the Sound” lets Aaron Beam’s bass and John Sherman’s drums churn out a thunderous dirge, which makes for one of the best songs on this album. The swirling reverb drenched guitar solo by David Sullivan adds the final touch to this epic tune.
A great track to get your heart pumping and blood flowing is “The Deep”. This tune is packed with a boatload of groovy riffs that dig in deeper than a wood tick on a hot summer day. “I Am a Ghost” is straight up rock with raging vocals and somewhat repetitive lyrics. The album wraps up with “Living in Lye”. This up-tempo jam burns hot from start to finish. It is a fine finish to a great album from the boys in Red Fang. Crack into a case of your favorite beer and let this jagged mother of nitro rock crank.