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Fu Manchu We Must Obey

By Charlie Steffens aka Gnarly Charlie, Writer/Photographer
Monday, February 12, 2007 @ 4:49 PM


Century Media Records

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The addictive groove and the slamming sound of Fu Manchu provides the ultimate soundtrack and motivational music to blast in your ride at dawn before you arrive at your favorite surf spot. In the parking lot We Must Obey, the gnarly new album from the explosive Orange County quartet is blasting out your speakers as the neighborhood dogs bark and the terry cloth-robed housewives start dancing.

The record is a soulful, bowlful of stony, electrically-crunchy hits that will satisfy any hard rock head who isn’t dead from the neck up. Black Sabbath fans will be drawn to the Geezer/Ward flavor of Fu Manchu’s rock bottom as well as the Iommi-infused guitar solos, which are painted all over the soundscape of the record. The doom/gloom intro of “Let Me Out” is reminiscent of just about any song Sabbath ever did. Fu Manchu draws upon the sound of the founding fathers of heavy metal, but those fathers’ slow-tempo drone may sound a bit sluggish to the trained (or strained) ear compared to some of Fu Manchu’s lethal weapons on We Must Obey.

It’s easy to draw comparisons to Rollins Band and Suicidal Tendencies when the guitars of Scott Hill and Bob Balch combined with the bass of Brad Davis hit your soul. “Knew it All Along” is the best track of the 11 killers on the record, where each member of the dojo showcases their musical mojo, especially drummer Scott Reeder. He beats the hell out of skins with the rudiments of basic timekeeping while adding the right kind of percussive complexity needed to drive the sound of his band.

The slamming cover of “Moving in Stereo”, which was originally recorded by The Cars, is Fu Manchu’s homage to the Boston new wave band. The band relies on guitar, drums, bass, drums, distortion and attitude to get the job done. We Must Obey, Fu Manchu’s tenth album, was co-produced by Andrew Alekel (Weezer, Rancid, Queens of the Stone Age) and is the antidote for music that sucks and slowly weakens your immune system.

Some bands have survived by perseverance and staying true to their vision, regardless of how they’re labeled. But the deciding factor is what kind of music the bands are making. Who wants another Offspring? Stoner rock or surf-punk from Southern California is not in short supply these days. Fu Manchu is the essence of pure rock, no matter how they’re classified. Now, obey and give this album a listen.

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