Four years after 2014’s ‘The Sorrow and the Sound’ and Feed the Rhino have returned to a very different climate of rock and metal than the one that they last thrived in. From being the standout ‘heavy band’ in a landscape permeated by Mallory Knox and Blitz Kids to a world where Code Orange and Employed to Serve call the shots, the Kent quintet need to prove their worth on fourth full length ‘The Silence’.
As Papa Roach eloquently stated, ‘you gotta change, or die,’ and FTR have taken that advice head on to create a more grandiose record than the assertive hardcore that defined its predecessors. Right from the space-station intro of opener ‘Timewave Zero’, ‘The Silence’ presents itself as the most ambitious record the band have ever pushed themselves to make.
Showing a near-perfect balance of battering-ram metal grooves and sophisticated melodic choruses, Feed the Rhino have mastered the craft of anthemic songwriting with tracks like ‘Heedless’ and ‘68’. Much akin to Parkway Drive’s adaptation of their riffage into arena bothering arrangements on ‘Ire’, FTR realise the only way is up, and the icy alt-metal craft of ‘Fences’ suggests they have the songs to drive them in a similar direction. Even in the more aggressive outings ‘Nerve of a Sinister Killer’ and swinging closer ‘Featherweight’ strip back any indulgence in favour of bounce-by-the-ounce riffs, providing maximum impact in their simplicity.
Four years after Feed the Rhino seemed perched to dominate modern metal, many punters of the time may have moved on to something new, but ‘The Silence’ is a reward for anyone that’s stuck by them. Lee Tobin’s cynical commentary on society and himself still punctuates the band’s razor sharp delivery, but this is more than an album he can scream in people’s faces while running about topless. It’s a major step up that puts FTR back in the centre of the best of the UK’s heavy climate.
‘The Silence’ by Feed the Rhino is released on 16th February on Century Media Records.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)