Saturday, October 12, 2013

A preliminary jab at Red Fang's Whales and Leeches

I expect the critics will like the new Red Fang LP. It's got airtight songwriting, with marvelous production and is even a step up in all ways from the great last LP, which was reviewed well. However, I expect a backlash from a certain contingent of fan. There will be certain boys- and yes, I mean boys, males aged 16 to 25, who will claim that Red Fang have gone soft, that these are pop songs, that it's not heavy enough; essentially "they sold out". At the risk of  constructing and attacking a straw man, I'd like to talk about that- and to make it transparent, my point in that is to explain my reaction to the LP.
See, first of all- I wouldn't think it's a bad thing for Red Fang to adopt a pop element to their music. Pop song structure is economical, and efficient. It's effective, and aesthetically pleasing. It's just not the only game in town. But Red Fang haven't adopted pop songcraft- it's Rock, and more specifically, it's Heavy Metal.
As such, I don't think it's lacking in heaviness- I think that such a perspective is lacking in understanding as to what they're going for. The music is no less heavy than Kiss, than Dio, than The Melvins, than Ted Nugent, and certainly no less heavy than contemporaries like Torche, Valiant Thorr, Tilts, or Turbonegro. Expecting them to be as heavy as Kowloon Walled City, Neurosis, or even Kylesa would be expecting them to be a different band than what they are. At the heart of it, that's what cries of "Sell Out" tend to be- an expectation of an Artist to be something other than what they are. ( there's certain rare exceptions- but usually I don't mind them. What I mind is when an Artist tries to sell me, as a fan, out. People like Trent Reznor, or Liz Phair trying to get me to accept a crappy, half assed attempt at what they think I want to hear, in an effort to get me to buy said lame attempt, because that's all the more they value their creative expression. ) I see Red Fang as being much more in the vein of always wanting to be something like the Melvins than something like Slayer, and yes, I hear them hit some "Slayer riffs" on this- but the overall feel of their thing is still Beer Metal,

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