Signs Of Infinite Power
20 October 2009
by Amit Sharma
If Fu Manchu were an animal, they would be a Woolly Mammoth – a giant, fuck-off hairy bastard from the Prehistoric Siberian Tundra. Their latest offering, Signs Of Infinite Power, will makes you feel a bit like being stoned whilst floating around the solar system, perhaps somewhere near the alluring rings of Saturn.
Album opener, ‘Bionic Astronautics’, is as much Black Flag as it is Black Sabbath with its dirty down tuned guitars and behind the beat laziness, which is strangely complimented by Scott Hill’s staccato vocals. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to hear if you strapped Lemmy to a chair and forced him to chain smoke reefers all day long – somewhat fast and angry yet somewhat slow and lethargic.
It’s this energetic ingredient to their sound that makes them instantly recognisable in a genre often guilty of unoriginality and ripping off the same old Kyuss riffs. Funnily enough, Fu Manchu are one of the only bands in the desert scene who were actually around before Kyuss (though under the moniker Virulence).
Another reason to buy this album is the fact that it has a track entitled ‘Steel.Beast.Defeated’, which is a 70s feelgood blues-rock headbanger with some spacey leads from guitarist Bob Balch. You can really hear the Marshalls cranked on this record; the filth just oozes out of the speakers with bucketloads of bottom end yet retaining just the right amount of clarity. Tracks like ‘El Busta’ and ‘One Step Too Far’ give this album some extra dimension outside of the typical working Fu formula, offering something heavier mixed in with the hazy psychedelia.
Watch Scott Reeder recording the drums for Signs Of Infinite Power
This might not top 1997’s career defining The Action Is Go, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. After a few mediocre albums that didn’t really seem to pull off the marriage of stoner groove and punk attitude that Fu Manchu are notorious for, Signs Of Infinite Power is a firm indication these Californians have found their way again.
Sounds like: Nebula, Monster Magnet, Kyuss
Top tracks: Bionic Astronautics, El Busta, Webfoot Witch Hat, Steel.Beast.Defeated
Fu Manchu – Signs Of Infinite Power tracklisting
Against the Ground
Webfoot Witch Hat
Signs of Infinite Power
Eyes x 10
Take It Away
One Step Too Far