Southern discomfort: ((Thorlock)), Red Fang bury you in swampy, stoner metal

((Thorlock))

It’s finally really cold around here, and I cannot he happier. It’s the perfect excuse for indulging in those high ABV, warmer-style beers I love so much. As if I needed an excuse, really, but it’s also when these brews are more readily available. I literally cannot wait to leave to buy some.

But now I’m in the mood for some BBQ as well, and possibly some further mind alteration due to the music I bring you today. Not that you need to be rocked out of your mind to enjoy this stuff, but these two Southern-minded, stoner-friendly bands kick some serious ass, as much as I hate to use that saying. Sounds like something some dork would affix to Kid Rock. So sorry about that. But it’s also true. If you want some honest riff-ravaged metal, you cannot go wrong investing your time in either of these bands’ records, both of which are in that charred meats, chill-out frame of mind.

Now, oddly enough, even though both ((Thorlock)) and Red Fang have a decidedly Southern rock edge, neither of them hail from that section of the United States. Funny, because both would sound perfect rocking out in the swamps alongside the likes of Black Tusk, Kylesa and Baroness, but you would be out of luck if you traveled to Georgia hoping to see such a sight. Instead, ((Thorlock)) hail from Missouri, while Red Fang call Portland, Ore., home, so it’s more that their sounds were influenced by their tastes. At least that what I would guess to be the case.

Let’s kick things off with ((Thorlock)), whose 2008 self-titled effort is just now resurfacing for your listening enjoyment. If you look at those goofballs at the top of the story, you’d wonder if they have nothing but hijinks in mind. They don’t. It’s not that their music isn’t super fun, because it totally is, but it’s not some kind of joke. They just know how to have a blast in their Sunn 0))) robes while taking bizarre adventures into outer space. Who can’t get on board with something like that?

This ((Thorlock)) re-release is a joint effort courtesy of Handshake Inc. and Grindcore Karaoke, meaning you can just go download it and save your money for beer and hot dogs. You won’t be sorry for a second when you hear their scuzzy mix of Southern rock, sludge and doom metal, paying closest tribute to early Black Sabbath and The Melvins. The 10-track effort is spaced out perfectly like two album sides would be. They’re perfect halves. Each has a handful of fast, satisfying rockers, a couple of rowdy cover tracks that not only do justice to the originals but just may surpass them (Kiss’ “Deuce” and Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”), and two cosmically shifting, corrosive epics (“Mississippi Wheelwash” and “Beyond Cosmic Dimensions”) that are caked in noise and drone. The vocals are harsh and barky, giving these songs more of an edge, and songs such as “Assneck,” “Man Will Lose,” “Extinct” and personal favorite “Triceratops” not only can get anyone pumped as hell at a house party but almost assuredly will get the cops called to your home.

This is a hulking, barbaric effort from a band that only has an EP to its name otherwise. I’m angry I haven’t heard this bastard until now, considering it’s three years old. But hey, better late than never, and for you cheapskates out there who only want to get their music from some dirty, filthy download site, at least your conscience will be clean when you grab this one. Or are you so out there, man, that you can’t feel remorse? If so, what’s the like? Oh, and check out the rest of what Grindcore Karaoke has to offer. All of it is free, and all of it will cave in your chest.

For more on the band, go here: http://www.facebook.com/LOUDERTHANSTUPIDITY

To grab their album, go here: http://www.grindcorekaraoke.com/album/thorlock

For more on the label, go here: http://www.grindcorekaraoke.com/

And here: http://handshakeinc.com/

Red Fang

Here goes one we’re just flat-out late in bringing to you, that being the sophomore effort “Murder the Mountains” from Red Fang. This band has been one that always had the chance to break out but for some reason hasn’t to this point. Maybe this effort, as well as that tour with Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan, is just what they needed. As it is, as the legend goes, this album is one that was recorded and in the can before Relapse was convinced to pick it up, and I bet they’re happy as shit that they did, because it’s a bruiser.

“Murder the Mountains” was produced and championed by guitarist Chris Funk of the Decemberists. Now, don’t go getting all bothered over that fact because one, Funk is a bad ass who can shred with the best of them, and two, have you ever truly heard the Decemberists’ music? Yeah, it may be folky indie rock, but it’s bloody. There’s murder everywhere. It might as well be metal. So he holed up with the band and helped them churn out this 10-cut burner that’s a little smoother and easy on the ears than their debut (released by Sargent House). Brian Giles and Aaron Beam still yowl and howl when the mood strikes them, but the singing is cleaner and more evened out on songs such as “Wires,” that has a Queens of the Stone Age vibe; the ultra-catchy “Number Thirteen”; and “The Undertow,” that’ll really take your imagination on a ride. But they still have smokers such as meaty “Malverde”; burly “Dirt Wizard”; sludgy, doomy “Into the Cage”; and punk-flavored closer “Human Herd” in case you need an overdose of violence to get you there.

“Murder the Mountains” is an impressive step ahead for Red Fang, and I would not mind if their creative marriage to Funk becomes a permanent one. He got the most of the band during their recording session, and Red Fang certainly sounded like they had something to prove on this disc. They just may be onto something. And as promised, the music will make you hungry for a feast. I’m now starving. I also am tired of being in the right frame of mind, so if you’ll excuse me, I have some cookies to go pick up.

For more on the band, go here: http://redfang.net/

To buy “Murder the Mountains,” go here: http://www.relapse.com/search_result.php?search_by=all&q=red+fang&x=0&y=0

For more on the label, go here: http://www.relapse.com/