Horn Of The Rhino

Weight Of Coronation

Written by: PP on 23/11/2010 04:25:17

The music of Horn Of The Rhino weighs "more than a pack of bricks thrown from the 10th floor", but I'm going to respectfully disagree with the promo blurb, and instead drop a few tonnes worth of military vehicle in the form of a tank instead, as I feel like bricks aren't anywhere heavy enough to properly describe the crushing wall of sound that lies within "Weight Of Coronation". This is the third album by these Spanish sludge boys who used to be called just Rhino before a copyright dispute, and boy oh boy has their lone guitarist figured out a way to distort his guitars so it sounds like a triple guitar attack with the lowest possible tuning known to man. Alone he carries the force of two or three usual guitarists, taking his cues from some of the murkier Black Sabbath riffs while interpreting them in a very obviously Neurosis and High On Fire-esque manner.

This is sludge metal alright, and the songs are as mammoth as you'd expect from a band carrying a name like these guys. But they aren't just mammoth in terms of weight and power, but many of them stretch well beyond the 10 minute mark to hammer the point home through some repetetive, ultra-low riffing. The bass function here is to solely provide the monstrously heavy base to the guitar, and that's something these guys do very, very well. You don't mind the extensive length of the songs because of the way the riffs have been written: they are hypnotic in nature, swelling up and down in a natural movement but one with only one goal and one goal only: to crush everything down underneath. Surprisingly the vocals aren't as macho and masculine as you'd expect, instead utilizing a cleaner, more soulful approach to many of their peers, and that I feel is one of the only weaknesses of Horn Of The Rhino. They spend extensive time in grinding through slow, instrumental-only passages which create an almost mysterious atmosphere, fully immersing the listener into the soundscape, but the cleans just aren't very interesting here so you're left hoping he'd move out of the way, scream, or yell or something else than what he's doing. The contrast between the soft and the heavy doesn't work as well here as they have intended, simply because the music comes off better as heavier in this instance. That's why "Throats In Blood" already feels like a better song, because here an angrier approach is used in the vocal department. That they add extra instruments like the hammond organ to support the at times minimalistic instrumentation is a nice touch, but again, it could be so much better.

As it stands now, however, "Weight Of Coronation" is still a pretty good sludge album. It's somewhat different from their peers because of the cleans, despite the influences being crystal clear here (do they sneak some Kyuss style stoner inthere with "Sovereign"?), but I'm still not as convinced as I probably should be. Sludge fans consider getting this, it'll be too lengthy and progressive for the rest of you.

Download: Sovereign, Mass Burial Punishment
For the fans of: Neurosis, High On Fire, Black Sabbath, Kyuss
Listen: Myspace

Release date 05.03.2010
Doomentia Records

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