Fu Manchu Rides the Evolution Machine: Gigantoid Reviewed
by Mat Weir
2014 has been a great year for metal heads and heshers. We’ve seen new material from Iron Reagan, Behemoth, Cannabis Corpse, Sleep, Earthless, Belphegor, Earth, Mutilation Rites, Gojira, Mayhem, Crowbar, EyehateGod, Incantation and—and—and—well, if you’re reading this, then you probably already know.
Earlier this year, the Orange County stoner rockers, Fu Manchu, celebrated their 20th anniversary by releasing their 11th studio album, Gigantoid. In the five years since their last, Infinite Signs of Power, it would be easy to write off Fu Manchu as a bunch of aging rockers, burned out in the old days and trying to relive them every chance they get. Yet, if you had done this, then Gigantoid is a crunching punch to the baby-maker.
The album kicks off with “Dimension Shifter,” a pure skater anthem with spacey effect pedals, wailing solos and a heavy rhythm pushing it throughout. Fu then drop into “Invaders On My Back,” a song about sobriety disguised in psychedelic sci-fi and ollie into “Anxiety Reducer” a slow-rocking jam that I’m pretty sure is about weed.
While nothing can compare to the band’s essential albums like In Search Of. . . or The Action is Go, Gigantoid is riddled with long hair thrashing stoner jams, fitting nicely into their discography. They’re not a group that changes their sound with the times and we, as fans, don’t want them too. Yet, don’t expect to hear the same old shit on here either. With age and new members, Fu Manchu’s sound is its own ecosystem, evolving within itself.
When I recently played them in the store, I saw this in action. Several people inquired about it and one person even knew the band.
“I used to see them with my dad over ten years ago,” he said with a look of shock adding, “I didn’t realize they still kicked this much ass!” before buying the CD.
Whether your graying beard has seen Fu Manchu so many times, you secretly think their 1999 song “Weird Beard” could be about you, or you’re a raucous grom trying to grow your locks, having Gigantoid in your collection will be one album you don’t regret (unlike that Lana Del Rey you secretly hide when friends are around, bro).