Artist Discovery: Red Fang

May 29, 2012

Between now and June 23rd we have enlisted the top music blogs from around the country to feature different artists from this year’s inaugural Orion Music + More. From metal mainstays to buzzworthy bands rising through the ranks, we want you to discover all the talent taking over Atlantic City’s Bader Field this year.

Today’s feature comes from Consequence of Sound’s Michael Roffman.

Orion Music + More might give regular European metal festival goers something to drool about. But, it also presents the opportunity for people to dip their feet into the pool of Stoner-Metal. While people may know The Sword (thank you Guitar Hero), Consequence of Sound has already led a journey to discover Black Tusk.

Red Fang describes their goal as “To create music that appeals to both the thinking and the banging head,” and with two records and some sweet opening slots (Mastodon, Dillinger Escape Plan) under their belt they’ve definitely surpassed their goals. Hailing from Portland, the group brings heavy-metal to a good balancing point. While the elitist metal crowd might cry out for crazy time signatures and blastbeats, Red Fang opts for the 4/4 chug and solos with melodic lines that can actually get stuck in your head.

Sure, there are the scattered bits of technical metal, drum-fills that feel endless and dropped tunings that’ll crumble building foundations, but those are used to make things exciting, rather than as a crutch. The vocals lie somewhere between …And Justice For All and Mastodon’s cleaner vocals, and combined with Red Fang’s fast sections or slow-chugs, they further exemplify that “balance.”

While the instrumentals are heavy by anyone’s standards, the vocals can be considered borderline clean, or at least clean enough to be able to learn a chorus after two listens. They claim they don’t like to be restricted to a genre, and even from listening to the first self-titled album it shows. There can be the power-chord ridden “Wings of Fang,” which is essentially the Buzzcocks fronted by Brent Hinds, or the six-minute slow burn of “Humans Remain Human Remains” that would get even a Mogwai fan to turn their head.

The bass is overdriven, the riffs are supercharged, and the vocals sound like a man singing with a cactus in his throat, but that’s perfect for Red Fang. While you might not be listening to all of Sleep’s Dopesmoker right after your first Red Fang show, they are still the perfect choice for a droney stoner-metal break between Kyng and Suicidal Tendencies. Imagine the aerial view of the field, a helicopter shot of thousands of people headbanging, windmilling, and wishing they had long flowing hair while opting to see the smoothest fusion of stoner-metal and heavy metal that’s come out of today’s current metal market.