Review Summary: A fantastically constructed compilation showcasing the talents of the artists of the Rhinocervs label
Rhinocervs has become somewhat of an enigma in the black metal scene. Most of the label's releases are anonymous - as they claim to prioritise art over artist. Rhinocervs have managed to carve a niche within black metal, delivering consistent, very expressive and introspective black metal. However the label has proven to be somewhat divisive, however this is mostly down to superficial internet drama - with accusations of individuals within the label fostering anti-white views, as well as rape allegations against the Rhinocervs conspirators. I personally choose to disregard the unsubstantiated and value the high quality of the label's output.
Despite the compilation appearing to have a fairly sizable roster, I’m fairly certain there are no more than three individuals behind the music on this release. However this is certainly not indicative of the variety on this release. From Glossolalia’s vicious and discordant assault, to the Funeral doom/black metal amalgamation of Absum to the psychedelic black metal of Kuxan Suum’s track, there is certainly a vast array of different styles on this compilation. Kuxan Suum’s offering is one of the strongest tracks here. Like much of Volahn’s work it is an invigorating, expressive work boasting some of the most beautiful riffs I’ve heard in black metal. Tukaaria is as strong as ever, delivering a punishing, lucid body of hard-hitting riffs and incensed vocals. The musicianship is near-flawless throughout the compilation, almost every song is composed fantastically, the music is simultaneously melodic and destructive. The production is excellent as well, while it is certainly not as lo-fi as you might expect from underground black metal, the music is awash in a reverby fuzz. The relatively clear production definitely compliments the release, as the musicianship is far beyond the average black metal. The bulk of the music on here feels so thoughtfully composed, and creates so much atmosphere and emotion without relying on gimmicks and clichés. The only drawback of the compilation is the typically lacklustre Nihilobstat track – though it’s enjoyable enough. The album is constructed excellently in terms of the order of the tracks, the piercing and trebly ‘Filth in the Light’ segues into one of Absum’s doom-esque dirges. The final of which is another of the highlights; featuring some of the most gritty and guttural vocals I’ve ever heard. However despite the bleakness of the song, the higher-pitched melody that is present almost throughout gives a sense of hope to the song.
Overall I cannot recommend this compilation enough, the musicianship and the songwriting makes this some of the most enjoyable, and affecting black metal I’ve ever heard, not to mention in a genre full of clichés and derivative acts, this release is comprised of truly original material. Whilst I think every release on this label is worthwhile, no other has the same level of variety.