Fu Manchu
Gigantoid


4.0
excellent

Review

by piroga84 USER (18 Reviews)
June 4th, 2016 | 13 replies


Release Date: 04/29/2014 | Tracklist


For some curious reason, every time a Fu Manchu song played in the radio, i always painted the picture of hot chicks and aliens smoking weed in a bar in Jupiter. Now, just a few months away before Hillary uncovers all the extraterrestrial secrets on earth, it only seems fair that I revise the Fu’s last album that’s calmly riding the lines between hard rock, punk and stoner/doom like the waves of the ocean. Gigantoid went unfairly unnoticed, in what proved to be not the best, but their most metallic album of their career.

The Fu Manchu style sounds like throwing AC/DC riffs into the mud, while Blue Cheer is putting them on fire with whiskey, just a moment before Black Sabbath put the flames away by urinating. On Gigantoid, the veterans play their most raw and primitive act for nearly a decade. The production is natural and vibrant at the same time, as the band has found an ideal balance between retro and dynamic, updating their sound while preserving their sonic trademark. The songs never lose their edge, clearly illustrating the element of rawness that sets Fu Manchu apart from all the other mellow vintage rock bands. This is fuzzy hard rock venturing into metal landscape, never ashamed of its punk/hardcore origins, yet calling upon all the great stuff stoner metal has to offer. Where surf meets aliens, you will find Fu Manchu, last of their kind.

Gigantoid isn’t so gigantic as it introduces itself, as it runs around 35 minutes, while half of the songs are under the 4 minute mark. Anyone that has enjoyed a Fu Manchu album in the past knows these Californian dudes don’t want to reinvent rock: Simple riff-chorus-solo structure, check. Sabbath-y riffs, you got it. Lyrics in search of space… and some more! Only this time, the band take a step back from their more polished last offerings and delve deep into the fuzziness of their first albums. The four-piece decided to utilize their heavier, darker side, capturing sheer energy in shorter, punchier songs like “Mutant”. Just over 2 minutes, the last song of side A is breathing its bass-y heaviness upon us like a mammoth after 1 month diet. Its ranting, hypnotic rhythm although too short to work the spell in full effect, is long enough to sweep you off your feet, unleashing a quick sinister groove that takes no prisoners. Mind you, i am making history here, mentioning Fu Manchu and “take no prisoners” line in the same sentence.

“Evolution Machine” goes even further at the doomy side of life, the band crunching a riff that would make Cathedral proud, while paving the way for a rock-drop-dead solo - the extra spice in the darkest gem of this short beast of an album. A playful bass line drives this 5 minute juggernaut, which evolves into a maniacal scream that stands out a bit out of the usual bands’ aesthetic. Be warned, this is not your usual light headed Fu’s here. Unfortunately, the epic 8 minute “The Last Question” drags aimlessly after a while, a small scale jam that never quite delivers what the simple yet effective starting riff promised. At least it transcends us to the “The Action is Go” peak era, lacking of course the marijuana blurred aura of the band’s masterpiece. Well, it’s no secret that the guys roll better with shorter songs.

This is a good and entertaining record, but the universal law of music says that there is a fine line between a good album and “a record to swear by”. Gigantoid doesn’t fall in the latter category. For all its sincerity and hard work, the cool tracks that will rock the clubs or the Mustangs in Pasadena, are clearly missing. At the same time, the huge track that will drive mad the sectarian stoner fan is also to be found. Fu Manchu did not hit big with this one, though I am more than sure that this was not their intention. Worry not friends of good music, as this special “it” is the only thing this record is missing. And remember… if you ever find yourself to a bar in Jupiter, I’ll be sitting right there with a hot chick and an alien by each side, listening to “Anxiety Reducer”, for all that is worth.



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user ratings (35)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
piroga84
June 4th 2016


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

fu manchu for life!

ChaoticVortex
June 4th 2016


277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos'd this review and fully agree Fu Manchu for life! A great return to their heavier, more psychedelic roots and just an all-around good stoner record.

piroga84
June 4th 2016


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cheers vortex, now readin yours no one rides for free

manosg
Contributing Reviewer
June 4th 2016


9502 Comments


Gotta love piroga's descriptions. Really fun review man, pos.

I've only checked The Action is Go by these guys and really liked it but not loved it. I need to keep exploring their discog.

Digging: Fates Warning - Theories of Flight

piroga84
June 4th 2016


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks manos, glad you liked it

these guys are coooooool to the bone, give them a chance

RogueNine
June 5th 2016


2494 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This needed a review!



Last Question is one of my favorites tbh.

piroga84
June 5th 2016


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks rogue, it was my pleasure,

last question has its charm, no question about it

NLD
June 6th 2016


589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dimension shifter rules

piroga84
June 6th 2016


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

in fact every song here is tight more or less

and yes dimension shifting rules most of the times

NLD
June 6th 2016


589 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the first 3 are pretty solid, the second half of the album gets pretty repetitive for me

piroga84
June 7th 2016


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

indeed, the first 3 are the most distinguishable of the album

but Evolution machine is a gem -give it another listen- no warning punks hard

ok triplanatery is filler material, i give you that

robotic invasion, robots robots are going to invade your house man, beware



ChaoticVortex
June 7th 2016


277 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

For me it's the winner streak is the one between In Search Of... and California Crossing. One great stoner album after another.

piroga84
June 8th 2016


308 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The action is go is my absolute favorite, but california crossing is so fresh and laid back that i want to make love listening to it



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