California Crossing Review

artist: Fu Manchu date: 08/04/2010 category: compact discs
Fu Manchu: California Crossing
Release Date: Oct 23, 2001
Label: Mammoth
Genres: Heavy Metal, Stoner Metal, Alternative Metal, Hard Rock
Number Of Tracks: 11
California Crossing has a strong up side; Fu Manchu's distinctive fuzzy guitar sound has been refined into polished nuggets served fresh from the land of palm trees and endless summers.
 Sound: 8.5
 Lyrics: 9.5
 Overall Impression: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 1 comment vote for this album:
overall: 10
California Crossing Reviewed by: aenimafist, on april 10, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The later Fu Manchu sound isn't nearly as dirt as the sound on In Search Of... but it does not lose any place on the awesomeness charts. The extreme fuzz directed to the listener is absolutely mind blowing and is a good sound to play riffs with. I appreciate the fact that the bassist does not just play what correlates to the guitar part but is unique in its play. One of the more clever things the band did was on Separate Kingdom when they did a measure of 6/4 then two of 4/4 as the main riff. That shows uniquety in the band. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are not the absolute most interesting in the world but they have very strong presence throughout the songs. There are anthematic battle cries, dirgy lyrics and fast paced party-ish sounds giving the album multiple kinds of feel. Scott is a very good vocalist for this genre of music because anything that doesn't sound slightly stoned just wouldn't fit in. I like the way the vocal track is doubled throughout. This gives the vocals a more chorusy sound. // 10

Overall Impression: This is fabulous CD to start with if you are starting to get into Fu Manchu or stoner metal for that matter. This is definately a fuzz rock classic with only a few things that didn't quite go right. Minor things, but apparent. First of all, a ballad or slower song would have been nice instead of everything being in a pentatonic key. Second, after Squash That Fly, the songs don't stick in my head as much as I would like. Other than that, this album is fabulous. // 10

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overall: 8
California Crossing Reviewed by: jimejames, on august 04, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Being a long time Fu Manchu fan, I first got this album when it came out. I can recall being very disappointed with it. I've dug it out recently and revised my opinion, it's actually a really killer album. What it lacks though, is the trademark Fu Manchu fuzz tone that makes their other albums so perfect. The story goes that the band had all their gear stolen, including their fuzz pedals. In the studio they ended up using Dan Armstrong transparent guitars into cranked Marshall amplifiers. It makes for a cool sound, but it's not quite up there with the band's best work. The drum sound kicks a lot of ass, and the bass and vocals are nice and balanced - you can hear everything in the mix, it's certainly a very professionally recorded album. // 7

Lyrics: This album, like all Fu Manchu albums, features fairly spare and often monotone vocals. The lyrics never veer far away from the topics of cars and the californian summer. What else is there to say about this? None of this is not really meant as a criticism, because quite frankly I think if you're listening to Fu Manchu expecting deeply introspective poetry or superhuman vocal gymnastics then the problem is with you and not with the music. The lyrics and vocal delivery are perfectly suited to the songs. // 9

Overall Impression: These are some really cool songs. The band lays out killer riffs and grooves. They repeat the song "Mongoose", originally from the band's now deleted Eatin' Dust EP, although it's not quite as good as the band's original version. The songs "ampin" and "squash that fly" are probably the strongest on the album. There are no real weak songs on the album though, the whole disc has catchy hooks from start to finish, with killer lead breaks and awesome hooks. Overall, this is a great album, but not the band's greatest. For somebody who is yet to own anything from this band, I would suggest starting with "King of the Road" or "The Action is Go". If you already have those two though, this is definitely a very solid purchase. // 8

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