HORN OF THE RHINO (Grengus) CD
To say it in advance: Bilbao's HORN OF THE RHINO deliver a sound that is at least as huge as the demonic cock on the cover. Released in 2012 thru Doomentia Records, 'Grengus' is a solid mix of death metal and sludge. This is uniquely rounded off by a pinch of hard rock to keep it interesting. Guitar and bass are brutally down-tuned and create a massive wall of sound while the vocals switch between a harsh and more melodious style.
I must say that, personally, I prefer the latter variant because the contrast between the monstrous riffs and the soulful vocal style benefits the intensity of the songs. Unfortunately that doesn't happen to often. Such a pity, because the title track demonstrates impressively how well this works. In moments such as this it sounds as if Bolt Thrower would rape Life Of Agony or Alice In Chains. Or both at the same time. 'Brought Back' is going down the same road and is one of the better songs on 'Grengus'. I wonder why HORN OF THE RHINO do not develop that concept further, because it's as simple as ingenious. But whenever they return to their heavy, groove-laden death metal, they lose a large part of their uniqueness.
At first, I was overwhelmed by the band's ruthless heaviness but that gimmick is worn out quickly. In addition, it becomes clear that the guys of HORN OF THE RHINO are no blessed songwriters, contrary to the undisputed death metal heavyweight champions Bolt Thrower. Another disadvantage is the harsh vocal style which annoys me after a certain time. A good example of this is the second track 'Pile Of Severed Heads'. 'Grengus' could be an inimitable album, but unfortunately, it's only a nice sludge-soaked death metal affair with two and a half excellent cuts.