The power of the riff continues to compel Red Fang, but recent years have seen the Portland, Oregon outfit evolve beyond their stoner-metal roots.
New album Only Ghosts is the proof, flitting between driving grooves (Not For You) to punk ferocity (Flies) and Black Album-esque swagger (I Am A Ghost) to form perhaps the most complete Red Fang full-length yet.
To understand how the band got here, we asked guitarists David Sullivan and Bryan Giles to share the albums that formed the bedrocks for their playing, and ultimately, Red Fang's sound - and they were all to happy to oblige…
Only Ghosts is out on October 14 via Relapse Records. Red Fang tour the UK in September/October:
27 London, Koko
28 Bristol, Bierkeller
29 Leeds, Leeds Stylus
30 Manchester, Manchester Academy 2
2 Birmingham, Institute2
3 Glasgow, Garage
4 Newcastle, Riverside
5 Southampton, Engine Rooms
1. My Bloody Valentine - Isn't Anything (1988)
David Sullivan: “Most people choose Loveless as their favourite MBV album, but for me it's Isn't Anything.
“I heard this while in college from my friend Alex. It was the noisiest thing I'd ever heard. Warm and fuzzy and heavy in a way that was new to me.
“Red Fang actually covered the song Feed Me With Your Kiss, and I sang it. We only played it once at a very early Red Fang show.”
2. Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade (1984)
DS: “This is still one of my all-time favourite albums. It's epic. 23 songs of urgency and that Hüsker Dü sound.
“I like that they have these nice emotional melodies along with frantic hardcore. The production isn't slick, and that adds to the realness for me.
“It was the perfect album for me to escape from the real world. This was the soundtrack to high school, me skateboarding around parking lots and ditches.”
3. Bastro - Sing The Troubled Beast (1990)
DS: “I saw this band live first, before hearing the records. They blew me away! I immediately went home and wrote like five songs trying to sound like them, which of course I couldn't.
“I guess some might label this math-rock; it's just super-heavy and noisy and full of energy. Watching the drummer was like watching someone tearing apart a train engine while simultaneously building an airplane out of the parts. It was like he was doing 10 things at once, but with focus and purpose.”
4. Neil Young – Harvest (1972)
DS: “I heard Harvest from my mom when I was very young. It somehow creates a space in my head, I mean like an actual place where these songs are the soundtrack for the people in the songs.
“It's personal and emotional and it's just amazing. I love basically everything Neil Young has done, but Harvest is a special place for me.”
5. Wire - Pink Flag (1977)
DS: “Minimal, cold and stark and powerful. Short, tense songs with awesome guitars that punch you in the gut.
“Another album that made me realise that punk-rock didn't have to be the same old thing.”
6. Iggy Pop - Lust For Life (1977)
Bryan Giles: “It was really exciting to hear this record for the first time as a teenager in my first band. It has very dark themes lyrically but a playful approach to songwriting that I hadn't experienced before.
“I was really into bands like Black Flag, No Means No, and of course the Stooges. Very different from Iggy with the Stooges, Lust For Life helped me bridge the gap between accessible and punk music, and realise that a song could be both... Also, check the guitar tone on Sixteen - it's pretty greasy.”
7. Bauhaus - The Sky's Gone Out (1982)
BG: “When I was 15, I bought this cassette knowing almost nothing about the band. It was so strangely beautiful that it lived in my Walkman for the whole summer.
“It was not in fashion to listen to goth in my group of friends, so that was a treasure all my own. I was experimenting with psychedelics at the time, so this record was perfect for me.
“Daniel Ashe plays so many styles, from really clean delicate parts to some of the most saturated and effected freakouts. I heard the opening track, their cover of Brian Eno's Third Uncle, before I heard the original. I'm not sure which one I like more.”
8. Drive Like Jehu - Drive Like Jehu (1991)
BG: “The first 'tour' I ever went on from my hometown in Tucson was one show in San Diego with my band HAUS opening for these guys.
“One of them had the flu so they ended up playing before us so he could get back in bed. To say I was awed by them would be an understatement. I was also mortified to have to play after them!
“The interplay between John Reis and Rick Froberg still mesmerises me. The riffs are so different and chaotic, yet they blend so well together into a single bizarre and beautiful thing. If I could figure out what the hell they're doing, I'd rip them off.”
9. Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician (1987)
BG: “This album is really out there! It got me to think way wider as far as what a 'song' could be.
“Gibby Haynes pitch shifting vocals really makes for a psychotropic and scary experience. What really grabbed me, though, was Paul Leary's guitar style. I get the impression that he taught himself how to play by hanging naked upside down in a barn somewhere.
“Check out the solos on The O-Men... What the wha?! The guitar sound on the dirty blues stomp of Pittsburgh To Lebanon makes me think I need to start my amp on fire in the studio. 'By the way, if you see your mom this weekend, be sure and tell her... SATAN!!!'”
10. X - Los Angeles (1980)
BG: “To be honest, when I first heard this record I didn't get it. 'You got your rockabilly in my punk!' was my thinking, but after several listens the vocal harmonies started getting in my head. There's a haunting quality to them that I've never heard anywhere else.
“Billy Zoom has so much swagger in his playing, I'd swear he was born with his foot on a monitor. His approach to guitar is really inspiring to me - very tasteful and to the point. He can drag his knuckles in one part and dazzle with a cool flourish in the next.
“Nausea is one of my favourite tracks. It has a totally badass riff and some sweet keys by none other than Ray Manzarek, who produced the record. Say what you want about the Doors, but he nailed it here.”