Fu Manchu has a distinctive sound that they’ve maintained for nearly forty years, and their latest release, The Return of Tomorrow, fits right into that. If you’ve never listened to them before, their signature sound is a blend of skater punk and psych rock and sounds a bit like if Led Zeppelin turned the fuzz pedals to max and hired Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine to do the vocals.

The Return of Tomorrow starts off with a few faster, upbeat, catchy ear worms like Dehumanize, Loch Ness Wrecking Machine, and Hands of the Zodiac. The second half of the album is significantly more mellow and stoner doom-influenced. The nearly six-minute downtempo tracks Solar Baptized and What I Need utilize some slower, almost drone sections to contrast the technical guitar solos. The title track feels the most in line with their past releases, while some of the other songs have branched out a little bit to bring in some new material. The closing track, High Tide, is a slow and trippy instrumental track that brings to mind the sensation of floating aimlessly and peacefully through the cosmos.

The lyrics get a bit repetitive at times and a few of the guitar riffs feel like they’re recycled from older albums, but overall in The Return of Tomorrow, Fu Manchu manages to expand their musical horizons while still maintaining their classic vibes with groovy rhythms and heavy riffs.

FFO: Led Zeppelin, (older) Black Sabbath, The Sword
Key tracks: Loch Ness Wrecking Machine, Haze the Hides, Solar Baptized

Rating: 4/5