Only Ghosts by Red Fang

Red Fang’s latest 41-minute offering is bound to satiate those mediocre stoner rock cravings we all get from time to time.

It would, perhaps, be wrong to say that Red Fang have commercialised their sound with this new record, as they were never particularly inaccessible to begin with. However, that being said, there is a clear attempt here, particularly in the first half of the LP, to attain a more melodic and alt-rock influenced sound. This, on its own, is not necessarily any cause for alarm; there are plenty of bands like Red Fang that have had no problem at all transitioning to a more radio-friendly sound.

But Red Fang are evidently not one of these bands.

Speaking in terms of Only Ghost’s actual content, the Portland-based outfit spend the first twenty minutes on the same pentatonic riff they’ve been wanking over since their debut. This segment contains a few highlights, like ‘Flies’, ‘No Air’ and ‘Not For You’, all clearly showing that Red Fang can still write a great, mosh-able tune. So much so, in fact, they wrote the same song three times over.

The second half of this trainwreck begins with the actually enjoyable ‘The Smell of the Sound’. We then move onto three tracks which, yet again, sound exactly the same as it. Here, the band appears to be channelling the style of fellow headbangers Mastodon, although they manage this in a remarkably awkward fashion.

Granted, the album has about three good songs. But, bottom line, Red Fang’s new album fails mainly because they are trying to strip down and polish a sound that was already stripped-down and polished enough five years ago.

Zack Moore

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