It's been five years since the Pacific Northwest powerhouse of Red Fang has delivered new music. Speaking to the strong shelf life of their brand, even the most critical fans lived off the quality of 2016's 'Only Ghosts' while waiting for a new showcase of skilled riffage.
While the pandemic likely played at least some part in the extended time in between albums, the songwriting that comes requisite with Red Fang proves the time-honored cliche that some things really are worth the wait. Recently announcing June 4th as the arrival date of their fourth studio album in Arrows, the heavy music community let out a collective sigh of relief as there was finally a collection of gems on the way.
In the weeks since, the band has shared a couple singles from the record in the title track and an absolute masterpiece of tone and dynamics in "Funeral Coach". In just those two tracks, the outlook of what the record will reveal leaves plenty to be excited about. Effortlessly heavy, intelligently crafted, and full of groove in a way that skips the cheese, Red Fang far supersede the subgenre thing and understand how to crank out consistently great tunes.
It's that consistency, that ability to have such a keen ear for what works and what doesn't that begs the question, just what kind of musical foundation eventually created such a juggernaut. Red Fang's frontman and bassists Aaron Beam obliged us and detailed the 10 albums that changed his life, both figuratively and quite literally. H even went so fa as to place the following in sort of chronological order, providing a roadmap of just how Beam and the guys in Red Fang progressed in their pedigree.
Beam's got it from here... read on.
Twisted Sister - Stay Hungry
Beam - For my 12th birthday, I asked for either Rick Springfield or this album. I got this one. The path was set.
Quiet Riot - Condition Critical
Beam - The song "Scream and Shout" was the closest thing I had found to speed metal when I bought this record and it was SO exciting! But not quite it...
Metallica - Kill 'Em All
Beam - Holy crap!! I found it!! "Motorbreath" was the song I had been hearing in my head since the mid 1980s and it was amazing to hear it in real life coming out of my stereo speakers. I wanted to play music this exciting
Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti
Beam. - Fast Times at Ridgemont High screwed me over! In a great way. I bought every single Led Zeppelin album trying to find "Kashmir" and literally the last tape I bought (from Columbia House) was this one. But I became a huge Zep fan and my concept of what an album could be was shaped forever.
Soundgarden - Louder than Love
Beam - This band came to me at exactly the right time in my life and was the inspiration for my first real band. It was heavy but catchy and not super technical, and I felt like I could make music like this.
Nirvana - Bleach
Beam - This is the record that made me want to move to the Pacific Northwest. And I did. That's a pretty big dang change.
Nomeansno - Wrong
Beam - After Soundgarden got me into playing music on my own, nomeansno shaped the way I thought about songwriting and lyrics. And TONE. I started playing bass around 1991 and this album was the number one influence on the way I wanted to write bass parts and how I wanted them to sound.
The Jesus Lizard - Goat
Beam - This one is a close second for basslines and bass tone. You might argue that both are even better than on WRONG, but Jesus Lizard was almost TOO scary for me. But their songcraft simply cannot be fucked with.
Neurosis - Souls at Zero
Beam - This is a weird one, because I got SUPER obsessed with this record for about 1 year and then never listened to it again. But if you're talking influential, I can hear in every single "atmospheric" part of any song I've ever written since that year, I'm just biting this record.
Red Fang - Red Fang
Beam - Look, I'm taking the meaning of this list seriously. It's albums that changed my life, right? It doesn't even say anything about LIKING the album. But if you wanna talk about life changing, this is the biggest one. This record, and the accompanying video, inarguably changed my life the most dramatically of any album.
'Arrows' from Red Fang arrives on Relapse Records on June 4th. Pre-order the album - HERE.