Cosmic Rock

RED BEARD WALL - "The Fight Needs Us All" Review


One of underground music's more popular duos, the Texas-based RED BEARD WALL, are back with their sophomore album for Argonauta Records, "The Fight Needs Us All". The album finds our cherished pairing, guitarist/vocalist Aaron Wall and drummer/bkg. vocalist George Trujillo, expanding ever further on the unique audio they create within the confines of RED BEARD WALL.


If you are already hip to them, and know anything about that music, then you know it is a heavy, hook-laden melding of fuzz rich grunge, alt. metal, and psych-rock. Angst-y and crunchy, this dynamic twosome channel years of influences from such iconic bands as Helmet, Torche, Cavity, and Melvins into their own output and when it arrives, it does with impressive impact. Particularly, it is that arrival that does so much in giving RED BEARD WALL their edge, their "leg up" if you will, as they have such a distinct overall sound and a style all their very own.


Upon the 8-song "The Fight Needs Us All", we are treated to such infectious, groove generating numbers as "Come On Down", "Ode To Green", and "Reign Of Ignorance". Each is a swaggering discharge of monstrous riffs and piercing drums but there is no downplaying or denying one of RED BEARD WALL's more unique qualities are the vocals of Aaron Wall. They are the audible embodiment of a dichotomy, a true division, or perhaps "opposition" is the better word for them, that plays out before our very ears (and eyes as well for those that have seen RED BEARD WALL live).


The vocalized components of tracks like those mentioned above, or others like "To My Queen" and "The Warning", possess a dual vocal nature to them. One mode of delivery features the soaring cleans presented here, melodic and disarming, yet in an instant they are mercurial. From there, they become anguished, but forcefully assertive, screams of stark harshness that resonate long after they have stopped.


Now, to the pinnacles - the high points upon the album - or, the stand out songs for me personally, ones that I found myself deriving increased enjoyment from. I have already mentioned one, as the lead in cut "Come On Down" is one of the best examples for everything that makes RED BEARD WALL so fantastic. Exuberant riffs wielded with intensity in spades, mile deep grooves, pummeling drum battery, those chaste-then-caustic vocals... all parts of this thunderous track. Also, the lyrical subject matter is not lost on me either as it addresses some questionable aspects of organized religion.


Speaking of that, the longest running number here is also one of the most striking, the nearly six and a half-minute instrumental "Reverend". The song is somehow able to evoke uplifting impressions within its sweeping crescendos and accelerated passages, powered in no small part by Trujillo's phenomenal kit work


I also found a pair of tunes eventually bringing this album to an end (well, until you hit Play again anyway), "Tell Me The Future Of Existence" and the "The Fight Needs Us All" title track, delivered rather punishing compositional exorcisms. The first of the two contains a doom-y undercurrent, sometimes subtle, sometimes not so, while occasional ripples of classic heavy metal, ala Iron Maiden, also make their presence known. The latter title cut is a mid tempo, straightforward juggernaut with hard hitting, absolute solidity in song and purpose. Clearly a rallying call to the disillusioned and disenfranchised, a call to arms for the underground's resolute unity...


... For there is strength in numbers....


And "The Fight Needs Us All"!