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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Heavy Rotation-Fu Manchu-"Signs Of Infinite Power"

 Fu Manchu is one of my favorite bands of all-time that is no secret, but I must admit that I wasn't completely thrilled when I first listened to this album for whatever reason, so I put it on the backburner. One day my wife, who is also a  fan, asked me why I didn't like the album and suggested I give it another listen. As it turns out, I believe this album could be my second favorite Fu Manchu album right behind "In Search Of..." Tunes such as "El Busta", "Web Foot Witch Hat", and the crushing "Signs of Infinite Power" are brilliant slabs of pure sonic Stoner Metal at its finest. There is not a bad song in the bunch with the longest song clocking in at a whopping 4:31. Not too bad for a band eleven albums into their career. Put it in and crank the sucker up to 11!

What others are saying:

"Give a simple guitar chord progression to the lads in Fu Manchu, and somehow, they always manage to transform it into a gonzoid behemoth. And their penchant for killer fuzz riffs and grooves is on display throughout their eleventh album, 2009's Signs of Infinite Power. These surfer dudes are still obsessed with the '70s and Sabbath -- which is a good thing for all of us, as they offer another raging slab of molten metal. Since the get-go, Fu Manchu has always focused on the importance of cooking up strong 'n' sturdy guitar bits rather than sticky sweet choruses or melodicism, and this works out fine for these Orange County gentlemen, especially on such album standouts as "Bionic Astronautics" and "El Busta." Elsewhere, "Gargantuan March" sounds just liked you'd think from its title, "Eyes x 10" is a classic Fu Manchu rocker, while "Webfoot Witch Hat" contains elements of spacy psychedelia at times. Impressively consistent from beginning to end, Fu Manchu are one of the few modern-day metal bands that create riffs and grooves that truly matter -- as heard all over Signs of Infinite Power." (Greg Prato, All Music Guide)

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"At this point, Fu Manchu is pretty much critic-proof. They've already taken a shot at mainstream accessibility (California Crossing), they've put their generic, uninspired album (Start the Machine) behind them, and they've knocked out a comeback album (We Must Obey). Now they're in their comfort zone, doing what they do best.

Mind, you, it would be a mistake to confuse that with complacency. The old dog may not be performing any new tricks on Signs of Infinite Power, their eleventh album in a 20-year career and first for Century Media Records, but he's still got all of his teeth and plenty of bite. Signs ten tracks are, with a couple of exceptions, classic Fu Manchu in riffs, attitude, and execution. Opener “Bionic Astronaut,” “Webfoot Witch Hat,” the title track, “Eyes x 10” and “One Step Too Far” in particular stand out as examples of the band digging deep, finding new ways of proving that nobody does SoCal fuzz rock as good as Fu Manchu. When they falter – and that's to be expected at this stage in their career - it's more of a minor stumble than an outright failure. In other words, I wouldn't point out “Against the Ground” as a highlight, but nor will I skip it when revisiting the album down the road (especially since it ends much stronger than it begins). Overall, I'd say that like 2007's We Must Obey, Signs of Infinite Power holds it own against the band's iconic early albums, ranking slightly below King of the Road, if only for a lack of a truly massive hook.

The band feels otherwise – frontman Scott Hill has said that he feels Signs of Infinite Power is their best work to date, and while that's certainly well within his right, I doubt most of the listening faithful will agree. What they will agree on is that Signs of Infinite Power is another keeper from a band that shows no signs of slowing down or, thankfully, growing up. Recommended. (John Pegoraro, StonerRock.com)

Track Listing:

01.Bionic Astronautics
02.Steel Beast Defeated
03.Against the Ground
04.Webfoot Witch Hot
05.El Busta
06.Signs of Infinite Power
07.Eyes x 10
08.Gargantuan March
09.Take It Away
10.One Step Too Far



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