Review Summary: An excellent British hardcore album with just enough variety to hold your attention throughout.
Many people may have come across Feed The Rhino thanks to their previous album Mr Red Eye
, which was a bouncy piece of British hardcore which contained many a good hook and suggested good things from the band in the future. The Burning Sons
delivers on this promise in spades with songs that are great fun to listen too in solidarity but which would be even more of a blast live where the band has spent a great deal of time proving themselves to be more than competent in the gig environment.
The album very much starts how it intends to go on with Flood The System being a punishing call to arms and containing the uplifting cry of 'were all dead/ were all dead'. Instrumentally the song is strong on all fronts with the each band member getting their turn in the spotlight, the riffs being based around thumping chord hits but with effective embellishments with the second guitar playing higher lead parts over the top. Even the bassist Oz Craggs (He's actually called that, no joke) gets his own section to dominate where he lays down a grimy bass-line which while simple, does a good job of progressing the song. The production on the album is a definite highlight with everything sounding suitably tight but without losing the personality that is essential to records like this. The guitars sound particularly good with the guitar tone being well suited to both the power-chord thrashing licks and some of the more intricate lead lines that pop up occasionally.
Vocally Lee Tobin fits right in with some vicious singing, somewhere between a scream and a shout and he is helped out by the fact that some of the songs hold some great choruses with the ferocious title track being a good example. Although he screams throughout most of the record there are actually a couple of songs where he uses clean vocals, to varying levels of success. The song Razor is by far the strangest song on the record with tremolo notes ringing out over a bassy guitar lick. When the drums suggested a build up to something I presumed it was to another of those brutal chorus hooks but instead you are treated to an ethereal chorus with Lee singing 'razor/ hourglass is running' the song does not do much more than that however with only a simple octave guitar riff to bulk it out a bit and it never quite reaches the heights I was expecting it too. But if Razor is a good example of Lee executing his clean vocals badly then Tides is a stellar example of how they should be done, where Razor stands out like a sore thumb Tides is different from the other tracks but still feels right at home. The song employs a sweet piano riff very similar to the ones that While She Sleeps used on This Is The Six
and the production on the vocals switches between a grittier low – fi sound and much smoother high – quality production bolstered by a great vocal melody. This one actually comes to something as well, ending on the slamming guitar work that the album has taught you to love.
Drumming is great with thought put into fitting with the guitar when it needs to but having the right amount of showmanship in the fills as well; the drumming on the intro of the title track is a definite highlight. As I said the guitar work does have a formula which it sticks too but their is variety peppered throughout the album, one of the more notable examples being the riff that plays out Song Of Failure which sounds more Muse than TRC and I Am The Curse, I Am The Cure and a few other songs use a clean guitar tone which works well and only emphasises how crushing some parts of the album sound. The guitar also frequently uses the those harsh dissonant chords that have become popular in a lot of metal and hardcore and whereas many of the bands who use these chords can just sound a tired and overdone but brothers James and Sam Colley really do make the sound their own.
In conclusion if you haven't given this album a listen yet then go give the title track a listen and presuming your into your hardcore or even just heavier side of rock you are unlikely not to get some enjoyment out of it, these are proficient musicians who have really mastered the gritty rock sound and who are no doubt going to continue destroying venues with this collection of music.