FU MANCHU — No One Rides For Free (review)

FU MANCHU — No One Rides For Free album cover Album · 1994 · Stoner Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
The Crow
Debut of this splendid stoner rock band leaded by Scott Hill!

Brant Björk, ex-drummer of Kyuss, achieved a typical stoner guitar sound while maintaining some hard rock elements in the sound of the band, especially in the strong drums and clear bass. The result is a very compact album which is not a mere copy of Kyuss.

Time to fly demonstrates that Fu-Manchu are good scholars of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, despite the weak vocals. The riff after 2:20 is just astounding! Ojo Rojo is even better, with a mastodontic riff and very catchy melodies. Pure stoner-metal from the 90’s at its best.

Show and Shine is a more accelerated track, even hard rock despite its muddy sound. Mega-Bumpers is not so inspired and a bit repetitive at the beginning, but at the end of the second minute it introduces a fast and catchy riff.

Free and Easy is a relaxing tune with some funny guitar melodies, increasing the variety of the album in a much appropriated way. But Superbird comes to bring the stoner metal back, with another splendid riff at the beginning and good percussions throughout the song. One of the highlights of the album in my opinion!

Shine it On is lighter and a bit simplistic. But not bad nevertheless! And Snakebellies is luckily better especially because it’s psychedelic elements in its second half, leaving a good feeling about this album and band.

Conclusion: despite being produced by Brant Björk, Fu-Manchu are more that a copy of Kyuss or other stoner bands like Sleep. On No One Rides for Free they made an interesting mixture of stoner and hard rock, not so dense and complex like other bands of this genre, but very interesting and catchy nevertheless.

They improved a lot on subsequent releases, but No One Rides for Free is a good point of entry if you want to discover this band.

Best Tracks: Time to Fly, Ojo Rojo, Superbird, Snakebellies.

My Rating: ***
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The Crow wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Of course! Fu-Manchu has at least two or three albums which are better than No One Rides for Free. And Daredevil is one of them!

I really love stoner rock, and I will write a lot more about this genre. Thank you!

Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Good review, it's nice to see some more reviews of some classic stoner bands! I really like this one but I think the following album, Daredevil, is my favorite from Fu Manchu.

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