Portland, OR stoner metal band Red Fang shared an energetic new single called “Funeral Coach.” It’s the second single they’ve released in advance of their forthcoming LP Arrows, which is due in full on June 4 via Relapse Records.
“Funeral Coach” is built around a crunchy guitar riff that becomes heavier as it gets to the vocals leading up to the chorus, “Cross the great divide/Don’t be killed by pride/You’re not too young to die.” It stays noisy from then on as vocalist/bassist Aaron Beam sings about impending death in a breezy meadow.
Beam says the song’s title came first and inspired the rest, “I was driving around and I saw a hearse that said, ‘funeral coach services’ on the back. So the first thing that popped into my head was a dude with a headset and a clipboard going, ‘Alright, dudes—more tears! Five minutes in is when the tears are critical, or no one’s gonna believe that anyone cares that this person died.’”
It was released with an animated visualizer in the style of Arrows’ album artwork, including an animated version of the blood-dripping eyes depicted on it. Aside from eyes, there are tigers, stairs, UFOs and lots of arrows raining down, all illustrated in highlighter colors.
The arrows are mainly a reference to the name of the album, but “Arrows” is also the name of their previous single from the record. “Arrows” came out earlier this month along with a music video directed by Whitey McConnaughy, the collaborator also responsible for the iconic “Wires” video, which is their most popular track. It’s a similar-sounding song to “Funeral Coach,” although they’ve both shown some evolution since their previous record, Only Ghosts (2016).
Arrows will be the band’s fifth full-length record since they formed in 2005. They were touring for several years before they were able to collect their early singles on their debut album Red Fang in 2009. After that, they were welcomed by Relapse and able to release their breakout album, Murder the Mountains (2011). Since their positively-received third LP Whales and Leeches (2013), they’ve continued to find enough fame to fuel their tours to come. Red Fang has also released a couple of standalone singles the past few years, including “Antidote” in 2019 and “Stereo Nucleosis” in 2020.
For their new album, Red Fang reunited with producer Chris Funk in Portland’s Halfling Studio. Funk had also worked on the band’s albums Murder the Mountains and Whales and Leeches, and they credit him as a major creative influence. Guitarist/vocalist Bryan Giles states, “Chris is a major influencer as far as the weird ambient stuff in between the songs and the creepy incidental noises within the songs. Think he definitely creates an added layer of atmosphere that we wouldn’t have otherwise.”
The apparently close-knit lineup hasn’t changed since they first started playing together. Besides Beam and Giles, the other members of the four-piece band are David Sullivan on guitar and John Sherman on drums.
Photo credit: Mauricio Alvarado