A street fight between chunky riffs and intense vocals, Feed The Rhino’s The Silence must be the most ironically titled release ever.
It is always nice to know that the Kentish music scene is alive and kicking. Being the home of world-beaters Slaves and the ever-rising Moose Blood, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Feed The Rhino hail from my home county as well. The quintet is back with their fourth studio album, The Silence. I was keen to see how their newest release would stand up against the rest of the band’s discography. With a UK headline tour booked in for the end of February, will their latest efforts find their way into the setlist of one of the most explosive live bands in the industry?
The opening track of The Silence comes in the form of Timewave Zero. The sound of overbearing distortion is coupled with vocals that sound as though they are bleeding from a broken, wind-up radio. As my ears wore thin with the sound of this opening, a spine twisting riff acts as a form of utter salvation. The lyric “mirror, mirror, mirror, on my fucking wall” hits strong and rings true, the raw and strained vocals that force it through your headphones are chilling. The chorus is a projection of the opening riff, however this time, it is accompanied by Lee Tobin’s aggressive vocals punching their way to the foreground. The lyrics reach a refrain, this time we hear “mirror, mirror, mirror, mirror, mirror fuck you”. Once again, this lyric is catchy and punches you square in the jaw. This song feels like a fight between a chunky riff, the ever-intensifying vocals and the aggressive lyricism. However, the redoubtable winner of the track is the epic guitar solo in the breakdown. The conclusion of this made me want to pelvically thrust my computer as the song fell from the speakers. I would describe Timewave Zero as an interesting opening.
Not Heedless is up. I learnt very quickly that head nods are not an option – they are imperative. The scream that opens the song can only be defined as epic. The opening verse sees the bassline slap you just as hard as the vocals. The chorus is progressive as fuck, it is a real breath of fresh air. In the last instalment of the chorus, the post-chorus only takes this further. It is nothing short of being electric. The breakdown feels methodical and well-worked, I was happy to see that this band have taken real care in crafting each and every one of their songs. I appreciated the diversity of this track compared to its predecessor.
Losing Ground comes as the third track on the album. As one of the leading singles from the record, I was aware of this one before I got to listen to the album as a whole. It has a different flavour entirely. A slowly intensifying ballad that gives Tobin the chance to showcase the smoother side of his vocal capacity. However, before long, business is resumed in the only way that Feed The Rhino know how, loud and proud. If I told you, after hearing the opening two tracks, that the band had written a really catchy little ditty, you wouldn’t believe me. Losing Ground, however, has not left my head.
Now is the time for 68. Yet another chunk-fest. The opening riff clears the atmosphere of the song, only for it to be replaced by an even bigger riff. The tearing screams that are added to this one almost pull your headphones out of your ears. The chorus includes call and response vocals which shift between wholesome croons and blistering screams. This track plays with the sound of the band entirely, it perfectly exemplifies the talent that the band have. The breakdown can only be described in one way – monumental. I likened it to being hit by a fence panel to one of my housemates and to this moment, I stand by my statement. It will leave you with a mark and plant splinters in your face.
All Work and No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy is not only interestingly titled but undoubtedly my favourite from the album. I feel like this is the perfect song to show anyone who is scared of music that isn’t on the charts – I am certain that is will cause tears and tantrums. I really hope that the band had this in mind when they wrote it. It is an absolute monster, I urge you to give it a listen and try not to punch a wall.
The variety of sound between the crooning verses and the ever-intensifying aggressive chorus works perfectly in Yellow and Green. Once again, I must conclude that the vocals are nothing short of impressive. The way Tobin flirts with his vocal range throughout this song makes this one a highlight. The breakdown of Yellow and Green hosts an epic guitar solo which would not be out of place in the crescendo of a film, I imagine it would make the perfect soundtrack for a scene where the protagonist would have to run through fire to save a heroine. It sounds that epic.
Nerve of a Sinister Killer opens with the sound of short and punchy guitars. The drums absolve the role of setting the pace in the song. Unfortunately, coming after such a masterclass, there is very little diversity in the vocals of this one. Furthering this, I feel as though the lyrics are a little less complete as the other songs on the record. Other than the relentless head nodding that was provoked, I struggle to think of a time I would return to this one.
Luckily, the opening of Fences makes up for its predecessor. It is huge. The vocals come in and stamp on the guitar riff. From here, the chorus lets the vocals runoff in smoother flourishes which only highlight the diversity of the band further. I love the message of this song. The breakdown boasts the lyrics “cowards cover their tracks, white-collar hangman / Cowards cover their tracks, ignited by false flags” which are perfectly supplemented by the voice of Tobin. The message of this song is very powerful, it is heartfelt and that is what I love the most about it. Well, this is what I love about music in general. Feed The Rhino are encapsulated in this one song.
The Silence is the titular track of the album. It opens with a haunting riff which is a little slower than we have come to expect by this point. The distorted vocals seen in Timewave Zero are revisited here. As we get comfortable with this sound, the song sonically detonates. It comes as such a shock that it almost made me jump. The song flexes its muscles and is then taken back down with a low thud before we are treated to the trials and tribulations once more. The breakdown follows the same relax/face-fucking ritual and then we are sent home by the same kind of colossal explosion.
Lost in Proximity is probably the weakest of all the tracks on the album. It fits the Feed the Rhino blueprint perfectly but by this point, I feel as though it is a little exhausted. Annoyingly, it feels that I have heard this shouting over a riff combination too many before. In saying this, I quite enjoyed the lyric “they cast a shadow, they have no face / They have no fucking face” but I think this was for a personal reason. But, I guess, connecting with lyrics is one of the main ways to bond with a song.
The closing track is Featherweight. Lyrics such as “the stain on our freedom, the bleach in our fiction” made it stand out for me, it feels as though the last few tracks on the album have been crafted with very impressive lyrics. This one has been written for its potential live. It has moments of sing-a-longs, catchy hooks and a monstrous breakdown. The breakdown feels as though it is the last hoorah of the album as if they had thrown absolutely everything into it. However, I have the same issues with the last song, the pattern feels a little exhausted by now. With the sound of feedback, the song, and the album is over.
Moments of excellence are littered throughout this album and there is no doubt that Feed The Rhino are talented. I just struggle to think that I will revisit this record, it is a great effort but I feel that after giving it a few fair spins I have got everything I want from it. I hope I miss it, but I just don’t see it. What is on offer here is done incredibly well, however, I would like to have been the band diversify even further. That being said, if you are looking for a collection of songs that will let you know that you are alive, then The Silence is for you.