The idea that heavy music does not have to be loud constitutes a schismatic moment in metal, not unlike Martin Luther nailing his theses to the church door. Some of us, like Lucifuge-era Glenn Danzig and Nick Cave, experienced this concept as a revelation, embracing a dramatic essence of metal that transcends distortion and kick drums. Others rejected reformation completely and stayed loyal to the church of Marshall stacks.
Red Fang's newest EP is an argument in favor of metal Protestantism. It is billed as an acoustic album, although tracks like "Malverde" definitely feature amplified electric guitar. Still, this album is quiet in a way that will surprise fans of Red Fang's work thus far. Those fans will not be disappointed, however. The simple instrumentation and restrained production of An Absolute Bunker Session draws attention to Red Fang's songwriting, which is more emotionally charged than previous monster noise jams suggested.
A lot of that emotion comes from Aaron Beam's voice. Unfettered by fuzz and unable to just growl, Beam conveys a Cave-style tragic heroism that is part exaggeration and part confession. It is theatrical, as all metal vocals should be, but it is also raw. Red Fang are metal craftsmen, and they do not need all the tools to do good work.