It’s not hard to feel sorry for Feed The Rhino. For a band who’ve released three stellar albums and looked primed at one point to break above ground with some of the most bracing punk, hardcore and metal fusions going, there always seems to be something in their way that stops them from reaching those heights. An unforeseen hiatus a few years ago put a serious dampener on any momentum they had at that point, something which they’ve struggled to regain since, especially within the media, and the Kent mob have pretty much been running off good will from the underground since.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see where any uncertainty towards The Silence might install come from. It’s definitely their most – for want of a better word – accessible album date, keeping abreast of punk and hardcore elements, but also with a more melodic approach to metal in a way that the unaware or cynical may construe as an attempt to curry favour with a wider audience and regain lost footing. Except Feed The Rhino are far too smart of a band to needlessly pander in such a manner, and instead find themselves as riotous as even with another winner to add to their gilded collection. If anything, The Silence is only the next link in the chain of Feed The Rhino becoming a much tighter and focused band overall, and even if a few tweaks that need to be made stop it from being their absolute peak, this feels like a convincing step towards the band reaching their best era yet.
A lot of that is down to how Feed The Rhino manage their assets on this album, because while scale and melody do factor higher than they have pervious, this is still the headlong rampage of an album that this band have basically mastered at this point. Tracks like All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy and Nerve Of A Sinister Killer continually sound like their about to fly off their hinges with acute angles and Lee Tobin’s bug-eyed venom, something that never feels forced or as if the band are trying too hard. Even with its slight shifts, The Silence still manages to prove just how much of an asset Feed The Rhino are to heavy music in general. A track like the fantastic Featherweight might have the squealing shreds of dissonant guitar and a guttural sensibility when it comes to groove and momentum, but the further knowledge of melody that comes in the pounding, While She Sleeps-esque chorus serves as the counterbalance that pushes this album into real greatness.
And that melody is undoubtedly the most notable feature on the album, lacking in some cohesion – see the towering grunge ballad Losing Ground for the best example – but being the flavour that takes The Silence to the next level. It gives an almost metalcore vibe to Timewave Zero and Fences as they take to huge heights and embrace that expanse, but the roughness in Tobin’s vocals and an abundance of thicker tones means that there’s never anything too clean or smooth to detract from the edge. Even if the meshing of the punk and hardcore elements with the overt melody can be a little jagged in spots, there’s momentum in The Silence that keeps bounding on and never threatens to let up.
What it’s perhaps most reminiscent of in a way is Parkway Drive’s Ire, seeing a potentially risky move by its creators’ forays into traditional metal territory ultimately pay off and pay off well. And even if The Silence does somewhat pale in comparison to Ire whose stock hasn’t stopped increasing since its release, there’s every chance that could happen here too. Feed The Rhino have opened bold new doors for themselves and are taking whatever opportunities they have in their stride, and by incorporating them into their current sound creates a fresher take on what’s already known. If there’s one band who deserve to be finally elevated to the heights they’ve should’ve been at all along, it’s Feed The Rhino, and The Silence is the perfect example of why.
For fans of: While She Sleeps, Every Time I Die, Gallows
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘The Silence’ by Feed The Rhino is released on 16th February on Century Media Recordings.