Drunkenly stumbling from the cold, musically fertile shores of Portland, Red Fang practice the same stonery, uptempo rock that the Sword, Torche, and dozens of others have ridden to acclaim throughout the aughties. Their take on it is decidedly simple, with a focus on catchy riffs and concise grooves.
But unlike the aforementioned two bands or, say, Priestess, who have succeeded in this vein, Red Fang lack any sense of soul. Between Bryan Giles’ dreary vocal performance, occasionally sloppy guitar work, and a complete dearth of memorable riffs, Murder the Mountains, the band's sophomore full-length, has none of the conviction or drive that makes for good rock. Nor does it have any of the distinctive character that the best bands bring to their sound (like Baroness’s hollow scratchiness or Torche’s strange harmonies). Every disappointingly barebones track plods forward on a straight path until the next song takes its place.
Nothing on Murder the Mountains is bad exactly. But there is also nothing on here that hasn’t been done better by somebody else. And that means it sure isn’t good, either. CLARKE READ