Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Album Review: Feed The Rhino – The Burning Sons
It’s been said before, but the well-known industry term, “difficult second album”, is a phrase that so often rings true. A band’s first long-player has usually been pieced together over several years, fine-tuned in the pubs and clubs, before the band hit the recording studio. That second effort, whilst they’re stampeding through the wonders of their biggest ever tours, has to be whipped up at a moment’s notice with a label monkey constantly riding their back. So have Feed The Rhino managed to lay waste to venues, ignore the hype and the pressure, and found time to write another marvel to sit alongside their crushing debut, Mr. Red Eye?
Well, let’s give The Burning Sons a good going over. First up, be aware that this thing charges at you every bit as hard as their debut did – at least initially. Opener “Flood The System” is a heads-down trampling machine whilst “Nothing Lost” is a sharp dig in the ribs, followed by a swift karate chop to the windpipe. Both display hints at the condensed riffing and rapid stick-shifting to follow, but the lyrics counterbalance this structural two-step by burning with a direct intensity – from the effectively simple “We won’t stop, won’t stop, no we won’t stop” to the looped, gang-blasted mantra of “Now you’re lost, now you’re lost”. Wonderfully, the sharp-tongue of “Kings Of Grand Delusion” finishes off what the title-track promises to do, yet doesn’t – the latter may be a thundering mood piece that paws the ground and paces in circles around you, but it never fully switches up to attack mode.
If you’re looking for highlights they come when the band fully hit their stride. “I Am The Curse, I Am The Cure” and “Song Of Failure” (you’ll scream yourself hoarse at “We fought, we lost, we tore ourselves apart”) both find a neck-snapping groove; a new dimension of power that comes interlaced with some truly crushing riffs. “Razor” and “Tides” are, naturally, the watering holes in this parched savannah. The gently-plucking Soundgarden meets Foo Fighters-esque drift of “Razor” and the piano-led “Tides” are sweetly-sung, melodic beauties; the latter’s softer belly is threaded with a subtle, darkly euphoric brooding that changes tack to explode in a shower of caterwauling; a deliberate, affected sound strongly reminiscent of Mr Red Eye‘s exploratory dips into the reverb-heavy gloom.
Feed The Rhino have shifted weight here; rather than focussing on the swaggering hardball tactics of bands like Gallows, Hexes and Heights, they have inveigled this passion with the bleaker neuroses of While She Sleeps, Ghost Of A Thousand and Hundredth. It’s punked-up, hardcore-pitched rock that glues its chaos to your cortex. Yes, unsurprisingly, with so much going on in such a tight space, there are tracks that miss the mark, songs that feel shorn of the same layered potential as their neighbors. “Fountains”, “The Compass” and that initial taster, “Left For Ruins”, all come up some way short, but gurning blasters like “Death Of The Swine” should settle the stomachs of any fans who bought into the grittier tones or rougher mix of their debut.
So let’s recap. This band have not only delivered a solid batch of fresh tracks here, they’ve found time to fine-tune their sound to one that retains their penchant for graft and power, whilst adding both precision and grace. “Difficult second album”, my ass. It’s time to Feed The Rhino, my friends because, on this evidence, the longer you wait the hungrier he gets, the more likely it is that he’ll bite your whole sodding arm off.
Also online @ The NewReview = http://thenewreview.net/reviews/feed-the-rhino-the-burning-sons