Thursday, April 2, 2009

Rhino - "Dead Throne Monarch" CD

Hailing from Spain, this unique metal act's second album is an impressive one, bringing a powerful assault of downtuned, slow doom riffage, a variety of vocal styles, and songs that range from dirgey to more traditional post-Mastodon metal. Add a mix that's raw enough to sound live, and it's no wonder Rhino have gained some serious acclaim with the heavy music set. In fact, the sheer 'brutality' here reminds me somewhat of classic 90's-era Sepultura (when they were good, on the faster tracks) or maybe a little Entombed or Crowbar (the slower tunes), but really, Rhino are coming from a broader place than that, even. 'Bahamut' is a slow-burning melodic effort, but 'Pale Horses Coming' goes back to the scalding intensity. 'Funebre' is a grand ballad of sorts, and seems to encompass the entire history of metal, from stoner to classic stadium rock to grinding death metal. Wow. It's certainly dark and epic (15-minutes!), but not schmalzy in the least. And check the layered guitar churn on 'Wolf Among Black Sheep' - this is as slow and heavy as it gets, and it manages to cross more taboos with the saxophone at the end. If anything, 'Dead Throne Monarch' is a multi-dimensional album, as Rhino vary their tempos and sounds from song-to-song, and to magnificent effect. As far as I'm concerned, they are one of metal's bright new hopes. This is one hell of a heavy album, and one that will hopefully garner them some further success. (Arctic Music Group)

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