Kent Hard Rockers Feed The Rhino returned in February with their fourth album via Century Media. It’s one that was highly anticipated with the band having decided to take a break in 2015 and three years on, the question was, like a prize fighter returning to the ring, did they still have what it takes? The album starts with “Timewave Zero” which has a surprisingly melancholy atmosphere for an opening track. A big clean chorus from frontman Lee Tobin and introspective lyrics are raised by the odd unclean line and some chunky hard rock riffs. It plays like a mid-album song rather than an opener with its mid-tempo dirge, but raises it’s game after some opening electronics. Pre-album single “Heedless” appears next and would perhaps have served as a better opener with its driven main riff and bouncy feel. It will no doubt go down well at summer festivals. There is a familiarity to the track as a whole, with its 90’s hard rock leanings and that helps it with its infectiousness while there are nods to the likes of Rage Against The Machine in some of the riffage and that adds to the fun. “Losing Ground” then slows things down with a slow burn approach that builds into some decent guitar solo work and ends on a high. The epic nature of the track becomes more apparent after multiple listens and it works really well. “68” is one that ties up a number of the earlier song writing ideas and polishes it up nicely. The clean vocals lines are well inter-spliced with uncleans that give the whole thing a decent balance.
“All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Full Boy” is a distinct throwback to the bands previous records while also capturing the title of “The longest song title”. Feed The Rhino play to their strengths with chunky riffage and an infectious grove as guitarists James Colley & Sam Colley give the song a decent amount of bounce. It does fall a bit flat in places and it sounds like there is only one guitar and not two for most of the track – but that’s more down to the mix than anything else. “Yellow and Green” returns us to the slow burn style of “Losing Ground” with big melodies and guitars low in the mix. There is even an almost Jazzy mid song drop that then builds into a decent guitar solo before it’s completely unnecessary return to a final chorus. “Nerve of a Sinister Killer” sees Lee Tobin deliver his barked vocals over some groovy riffs and is a far better, if a little predicable representation of the bands sound. Straight to the point, no messing about. As the song plays out into “Fences” however, it’s almost as if the previous track is used to break up the songs with big choruses. “Fences” does a better job of mixing the groove metal style with the big chorus and arena rock sounds that the band seem to want to add to their sound. There is enough crunch to give it the edge and the song doesn’t lose its energy for the chorus, which will no doubt go down well at festivals.
Album title track “The Silence”, takes a slow burn melody into decent guitar sound and for the first time on the record underpins the clean vocals with the uncleans buried in the mix. The hook of Oz Craggs bass line is a well thought out touch while the rise and fall of the song into and out of melody is the best they achieve on the album. “Lost In Proximity” has a nu-metal feeling about it lyrically which isn’t such a surprise given the albums overall inspiration. Overall it’s a solid enough tune, but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table in terms of ideas and by this point the band seem to have run out. Album closer “Featherweight” is actually a song that was originally released in 2015 before the bands hiatus. It’s actually one the albums finer cuts, bringing back that intensity that gives the band that energy. The problem with “The Silence” as a whole is that the energy and momentum that is built up with the more solid tracks, the ones where they really concentrate on their core groove metal sound is too quickly dissipated by their desire to play with melody. There are songs where the melodic elements work incredibly well and work better with multiple listens, but there are also places where those parts drag on too long. Perhaps with a stronger producer encouraging the band to shorten up those songs, they would have worked better. “The Silence” ends up being an album that you want more from than you actually get and that is a real shame [6/10]
All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy
Yellow and Green
Nerve of a Sinister Killer
Lost In Proximity
“The Silence” by Feed The Rhino is out now via Century Media