For all its ostensible open-minded, open-hearted big community spirit, heavy metal can be absurdly fond of being a particular stickler for rules and a passionate fan of the pigeon hole. Consider then the fate of Kent’s Feed the Rhino who must come across as proverbial stray cat amongst said pigeon hole lovers. A hardcore sensibility but resolutely not a hardcore band, angry as punk but without punk’s often arch and contrived aesthetic; piles of attitude but with soul and humanity: just where do these guys fit in? Actually, who cares? When they are making music as exciting and invigorating as they have on their new album “The Sorrow and the Sound” then I couldn’t give a proverbial damn.
Following on from the ferocious rock’ n’ roll racket that was “The Burning Sons”, the third album from these sons of Medway sees the band as relentless as ever but now armed with a bigger, broader and deeper palette of sounds. It is a record that will slake the thirst of their burgeoning fan base and turn plenty of heads yet to be converted to this pile-driving force of a band.
There are plenty of reasons to be impressed by this new record- the in your face immediacy of opening track ‘New Wave’ lays down an early marker: it’s a claustrophobic ball of energy drilling through the centre of your brain. You can tell that the band have been dusting off their Refused and Cancer Bats records in the making of this album and I mean that comment with sincere appreciation; ‘Give Up’ continues the pounding; it’s stubborn and infectious.
And then things take a really interesting and compelling turn. ‘Behind the Pride’ sounds a little bit like what might happen had Fugazi‘s Ian MacKaye produced the last Slipknot album: it’s a brilliant mix of angular frenzy, a big chorus and furious determination. ‘Black Horse’ takes the pace down to a gentle walk with its dark melancholia and anguished pleading; it’s as much a pause for breath as it is another example of how much the band are seeking to stretch themselves creatively and musically on this record.
The dark, brooding, beating heart of this record can be found on the exceptional ‘Revelation not Revolution’ where the band seem to captured exactly what makes them so special with a tune that is broadbrushed in its subject matter, relentless in its execution and mad keen to leap out from your speakers, wrapping its heavily tattooed arms around you.
Feed the Rhino have rightly built themselves a formidable reputation as a fearsome and energetic live act- on this latest record they have captured much of the x factor that makes their live show so compelling and distilled it into a taut, fat free aural experience that is by turns surprising, venomous and gut wrenchingly exciting.