"The Return of Tomorrow" (At the Dojo Records; 2024)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

It's been thirty years since we first reviewed music by Fu Manchu, and I'm happy to report that the band still has the fire and the sound to earn their esteemed place in stoner/fuzz rock history.

The Return of Tomorrow is nearly fifty minutes of the band's classic sludge madness, complete with guitars and bass so heavy your speakers will tremble. The thunderous drums will probably make those same speakers fall from their perch. But it's the leads, those acidic, fiery, furious leads, that are the highlights of this particular album. They'll fill you with joy and make your ears bleed at the same time.

I know that Black Sabbath are the true godfathers of this heavy, fuzzy, guitar sound, but Fu Manchu was one of the first bands I was aware of that took that sound and molded it into their own sound. And they keep doing it, album after album after album. I'm always so excited when a Fu Manchu album crosses my desk because I know that another great listening experience is on its way. The Return of Tomorrow was just that. Trippy, heavy, fuzzy and, man, those leads. Check it out now!

For more information - http://www.fu-manchu.com.

"Gigantoid" (At the Dojo Records; 2014)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

It's been five years since these stoner rockers have put out a disc and it's good to hear them 'burning' up the airwaves again. I know that Fu Manchu is not supposed to be listened to digitally but I don't have a record player (or any tokie). Still, I can turn down the treble real low and get a good vibe through my headphones. Aside from that, this trippy little break from all the stuff I usually listen to can sure help to mellow you out ... at least for a time.

With track names such as "Anxiety Reducer" and "Triplanetary" you know what Fu Manchu are talking about. It's not the elephant in the room with these guys. "Gigantoid" has plenty of fuzzy riffs, fuzzy solos and enough buzz to keep you buzzed. Stoner rock may have its niche and it has good company with Fu Manchu 'blazing' the trail once again.

Fu Manchu: Scott Hill - guitar and vocals; Brad Davis - bass and vocals; Bob Balch - guitar and vocals; Scott Reeded - drums and vocals.

For more information - http://www.fu-manchu.com.

"Signs of Infinite Power" (Century Media; 2009)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I've heard some Fu Manchu before, but this is the first time I have actually had the opportunity to review a full release. A few words come to mind when I think about this music; heavy chord metal and slower stoner music. In my opinion, both describe this music to a tee.

Check out the band on the web http://www.fu-manchu.com/ or at www.myspace.com/fumanchu for some great information on this truly remarkable band.

Powerful music oozes thickly from the speakers as the band transports me to a reality of their making. Just from the set list, I know I was in for quite a ride and quite a ride it was! Here is a sample of the set list, just to give you an idea where this band is heading: "Bionic Astronautics," "El Busta," "Eyes x10" and "Gargantuan March."

When I was listening to this CD, I knew I was listening to the life blood of the musicians, the very core of their essence squeezed into a material substance called music. Rock on Fu Manchu! Rock on loud, long and proud.

For more information, check out http://www.fu-manchu.com.

"We Must Obey" (Century Media; 2007)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Fu Manchu's latest album finds the veteran stoner rock crew revisiting their skater punk and hardcore roots as they churn out 11 fuzzy freakouts on the exhilarating We Must Obey.

Feel the slow burn of "Land of Giants" creep through your cranium while Scott Hill and company's trademarked soulful hard rock meets snarling punk rock blend permeates out of cuts like "Shake it Loose" and to the quick and quirky bong beat of "Between the Lines." And, in true Fu fashion, another deep classic rock gem ("Moving in Stereo" by The Cars) gets the outfit's formidable four-star Orange County rock'n'roll makeover. 

Fu Manchu's hazy hardcore is amped to 11 on "We Must Obey" and their take-it-back-to-garage approach displays a curt, compact collection of songs by a band that sounds like they're having the best time of their lives. 

For more information, check out http://www.fu-manchu.com.

"Something Beyond!" (Elastic; 2004)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

There's an injustice in the world when bands like Fu Manchu are without a record label and have to resort to recording three song EPs just to get back into the swing of things in the music industry. 

Still, despite the paltry length of this disc, these California dreamers have returned with a solid slab of the stoner grooves and sturdy hard rock that made the band such a deity amongst those in the know. Including a melodic yet sinewy version of the Black Flag classic "Six Pack," Fu Manchu's "Something Beyond" once again pulls no punches and gives the people music to load the custom van up with beer and hit the beach to. 

For more information, check out http://www.fu-manchu.com

"Go For It ... Live!" (Steamhammer; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

As much a terrific greatest hits collection as an excellent live document, "Go For It ... Live!" offers Fu Manchu at their best - in a live setting, playing their most familiar material and rocking their tails off.

Featuring songs from throughout their long-running career, all recorded during their "California Crossing" tour of 2002, "Go For It ... Live!" is nearly 100 minutes of Fu Manchu's best stuff, ranging from the early "Wurkin'" through the much more recent "Squash That Fly." And it all sounds great! The band is in top form, the production superb without ever being overdone (too often a problem for live albums in this era of ProTools) and the song selection (22 songs on two discs) extensive and varied enough to never be boring.

Fans of Fu Manchu will definitely want to add this CD to their collection. Those unfamiliar with the band can probably do no better than start here and see what tickles their fancy. 

Fu Manchu were the first "stoner" band I can remember hearing - and they sound as good today as they did back when I reviewed "Eatin' Dust" over four years ago.

Fu Manchu: Scott Hill - vocals, guitar; Bob Balch - guitar; Brad Davis - bass; Scott Reeder - drums.

Foir more information, check out http://www.fu-manchu.com

"California Crossing" (Mammoth; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Fu Manchu's continues their ways with California Crossing, a collection of 10 Fu'd-up tunes that feature the chunky, fuzzy (there's really no other way to describe it) guitar sound that has become known as "stoner" rock.

Surprisingly, Fu Manchu sounds a little like Ace Frehley's solo album (remember that?!). It's heavy on the guitar sound, the songs are very simply written and easily listened to, and vocalist Scott Hill even sounds a little like good old, flat-toned Frehley (Hill's much better, thankfully). I particularly liked track 4, "Thinkin' Out Loud," for its jaunty, irresistible chorus. 

Fu Manchu fans and fans of the "stoner" genre will no doubt find much to like on "California Crossing," though they may not find much of anything new.  

Fu Manchu: Bob Balch - lead guitar; Brant Bjork - drums; Brad Davis - bass; Scott Hills - guitar, vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.fu-manchu.com.  

"Eatin' Dust" (Man's Ruin; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

According to Man's Ruin Records, Fu Manchu are "the Kings of inter-galactic Fuzz Rock." If you're like me, you wondered just what the hell that meant. So I gave Eatin' Dust a spin and you know what? It kicks some serious ass. I don't get the "inter-galactic" part, but Fuzz Rock obviously means playing guitars with their distortion set to give them a thick, fuzzy sound. You've heard the sound before, in plenty of Black Sabbath records and such, but it's played to the hilt here with the guitars filling your speakers with a warm, heavy, fuzzy sound. 

The vocals aren't much to write home about - with sort of a punk/alternative feel to them - but the music is killer. The highlight here has to be the cover of Blue Oyster Cult's "Godzilla" but the balance of the CD is hot, too, especially if you like distorted guitars. "Eatin' Dust" includes five new Fu Manchu tracks as well as three older songs that were previously only available on an ultra-rare 10" "Godzilla" EP.

"No One Rides For Free" (Cube Farm / Bongload; 1994)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

This early collection from Fu Manchu displays plenty of what makes the band so great today, but also some of the growing pains it took to get there.

The heavy, fuzzy, Black Sabbath guitars are there as are some killer leads. But the vocal style isn't very confident and some of the music (i.e. "Free and Easy (Summer Girls") is just a little weird.

Still, even this early on, Fu Manchu were ready to show the word how to rock hard. Fans of the band's later material won't be disappointed with this CD, although the signs of the band's growth since then are aplenty.

Fu Manchu: Scott Hill - guitar / vocals; Ruben Romano - drums; Mark Abshire - bass; Eddie Glass - guitar.

For more information, check out http://www.fu-manchu.com.  

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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