Red Fang
Arrows


2.5
average

Review

by Grumpy CONTRIBUTOR (38 Reviews)
June 13th, 2021 | 20 replies


Release Date: 06/04/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The most colorful and heaviest Red Fang album so far, but not an immediate success.

Portland's beer-crushing, zombie-killing, air-guitar-contest-judging, and now katana-wielding heroes are back after a five years long hiatus. They’re famous for their crazy music videos (don’t say you haven’t seen any!) and for their pure fun stoner metal jams. However, in Arrows they “recrafted” their sound quite drastically: Red Fang now sounds heavier than ever, but it isn’t an entirely successful experiment. Of course, there is nothing bad about a band wanting to progress or exploring different territories, but Arrows feels something like the evolution of what they’ve hinted at during their Only Ghosts effort, but somehow this new direction feels problematic, rather than great.

I’ve always loved Red Fang for their easily flowing, jauntly fun albums, and I really enjoyed when they smuggled some really heavy songs into their albums too (see “Dirt Wizard” from Murder The Mountains for example). The combination of the light, beer-fueled stoner rock and the almost sludge metal-alike heaviness made most of their albums interesting and super fun. Even at their worst, albums like Whales and Leeches, had at least a few awesome songs. Many things have changed in Arrows. First of all, the production went through a dramatic remodel: an odd, gritty and particularly lifeless production replaced the clean sounding of their previous works. It feels like listening to a badly mastered album from a quite weary vinyl… everything sounds compressed, and the volume of the vocals and the drums fluctuate in each song. Very annoying, especially if we compare the studio work just with the previous album, which had a perfectly balanced and tight mixing. The only positive thing about the change was the beneficial effect on the bass sound, which sounded amazing through the whole album.

On the other hand, the overall mood has gone through changes as well. As I mentioned in the summary, this the heaviest Red Fang album to date, which is strongly rooted by the addition of a significant amount of dissonant chords and tempo changes (especially important in “Unreal Estate” and “Days Collide”). Moreover they added a few very unexpected drone/noise interludes like the album’s opener “Take It Back”, or the even weirder guitar-raping feedback-storm “Interop-Mod”, which is very tiring. Also, they showed their love for pure punk in this album, in “My Disaster” and “Rabbits in Hives”. Altogether, experimenting with these new elements isn’t a bad thing, however in Arrows they feel very out of place, since they are somewhat incompatible with their own style.

There are two sides of the same coin though: Arrows has some great moments as well. Same case with Whales and Leeches, the album’s better songs are the singles. Both the title-track and “Funeral Coach” are great songs, which clearly outshine pretty much everything else from the album, but the biggest moment in the album is “Why”. The song starts with a really moody riff, soonly followed by acoustic melodies and Aaron Beam’s singing, and later on the song explodes as things get heavier. The result is quite similar to how a Mastodon song would sound, which is a great achievement and a very welcomed surprise.

In the end, I have to sadly conclude that Arrows is a rather disappointing album, containing only two or three noteworthy songs. They induced many new elements into their sound-palette, but the way they did so resulted in a failed experiment: a motley, overwrought and boring record.



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user ratings (37)
2.9
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
garas
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2021


6230 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

A grumpy review :|



Bandcamp link: https://redfang.bandcamp.com/album/arrows

Listen to "Why" here: https://youtu.be/e8m8OD_xVAI

Digging: Oublieth - l'Ombre du Royaume en Cendres

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2021


24835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Nice rev garas! I was also thinking touching on this one, saved me the trouble.

Digging: Nightwish - Wishmaster

Minushuman24
June 13th 2021


4794 Comments


Heartbroken, great review garas

Emim
June 13th 2021


30656 Comments


Shame. These guys put on one of the best shows I've ever seen.

DDDeftoneDDD
June 13th 2021


17728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Shit...

Will give it a go tho

Tks for the rev garas

Digging: Erdve - Savigaila

garas
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2021


6230 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Thanks bros! And thanks for the feature too!

"Will give it a go tho"

My man!

Squizzy
June 13th 2021


9 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with your review…and yet I’m digging this album. Biases up front, I’m super into the sludgy production on albums though, so that helps my enjoyment of course. But I dunno, there’s something here that just keeps grabbing me. It’s not my favorite Red Fang by any means, but it’s certainly enjoyable if you're into it.

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2021


8295 Comments


Good rev bro, I won't listen to this tho lel

Kinetic22
June 14th 2021


8 Comments


Yeah, kudos to the guys for trying something different, but I'm not sure they stick the landing here. The songs are just not good enough to make it work. And I enjoy sludgy production jobs too, but here it lacks the "oomph" that I usually search for in that type of recording, it all sounds really tinny and uneven.

LeisureMuffin
June 14th 2021


55 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Good songs, but the production is ASS. It literally sounds like someone made a mastering error

SputnikSweetheart
June 15th 2021


324 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

agree with you, good review. unfortunately these guys never delivered on the hype of murder the mountains... quite on the contrary, they're getting worse with each record

satanicaleve
June 16th 2021


40 Comments


I'll second what LeisureMuffin said the production on this is horrible. There is proper ways to produce a quality sludge sounding record and this is not one of them

ignorethefashion
June 18th 2021


128 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is a 4 or better with a decent remaster.

Digging: Turnstile - Turnstile Love Connection

DDDeftoneDDD
July 7th 2021


17728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Was really kinda enjoying the first 2 tracks. Agree mix is weird. 3rd track not so much. But on first 2 actual songs left me questioning: do you guys actually rock?



Need to check the rest tho.

DDDeftoneDDD
July 7th 2021


17728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"There is proper ways to produce a quality sludge sounding record and this is not one of them"



Yeah, there is a confusion between a sludge mix and a bad quality one. This seems recorded through a phone and never mastered (maybe it was XD)

DDDeftoneDDD
July 8th 2021


17728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Trippleposting here to say the other thing I got from Unreal Estate was

"Hey! Who the fuck invited Mike Patton?" XD

garas
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2021


6230 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

> never mastered

It was clearly mastered, but fucked up real good. As I said, the bass sounds really good compared to the otherwise pretty bad mix.



>"Hey! Who the fuck invited Mike Patton?"

Ha! That's a good observation, haha!

DDDeftoneDDD
July 8th 2021


17728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Idk man, very confused about how weird this sounds. They fucked up good. For me it could be the best of the last 3 albums. There's a lot of Melvins, QOTSA etc etc still fun and entertaining, but damn, shit sound and unnecessary moments. I can do this and clean the house yk.

DDDeftoneDDD
July 8th 2021


17728 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Ok...just putted this on loud speakers. Pretty sure the mixer was drunk. lol

garas
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2021


6230 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

According to Metallum, a guy called Chris Funk was their producer who was in the same position for albums Murder the Mountains & Whales and Leeches which sounded great. But idk what went wrong this time...



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