In the clash of stoner-metal titans, Red Fang isn't going to out-sexy Queens of the Stone Age or out-melody Torche or out-conceptualize its labelmate Baroness, but it will bully those bands—and, really, the majority of others working in the heavy-rock arena—with sheer, mountainous force. Whales and Leeches, the group's third album, isn't markedly different from the previous two, but it does double down on what has made Red Fang Portland's favorite monsters of rock: The road-rash riffage of "1516" and "DOEN" are among the band's most lacerating; "Every Little Twist" locks into a swirling, transfixing hard-psych groove; the martial stomp of "Failure" lurches like Viking mammoths marching to war. The seven-minute sludgefeast "Dawn Rising" contains a bit of everything in the group's arsenal, stretching its tentacles like the pseudo-Cthulhu adorning the cover. And "Blood Like Cream," the album's sharpened meat hook of a lead single, should make for another classic Whitey McConnaughy-directed video. I'm imagining an army of tattooed milkmaids doing a choreographed routine to the âChurn it up!â chorus, but thatâs just me.
HEAR IT: The album is out Tuesday, Oct. 15.