At first listen, “Grengus“(2012) sounds like the embodiment of human anger in the form of metal music. It’s sludgy, gutsy and roaring with an almost animalistic quality; but the violence isn’t without emotion. It’s not a perfect album, we’re not talking about reinventing the riff here, but it is a record Horn of The Rhino can be proud of. Read on to find out why, and prepare yourself for some ass-kicking rhinoceros metal!
Since every other metalhead is a guitar freak, we often expect bands to always come up with heavier\crazier guitar work, which can be seriously futile. What I like about guys like Horn of The Rhino or Conan is how they just purely do their own thing, don’t care about the competition, pretty much giving the whole guitar competition thing the bird. You can right away tell this is these guys’ attitude, and as risky and imperfect going in that direction always is, it seems to work on “Grengus“.
The album opens up with “Under The Hoof“, its intro assaulting you with the band’s brand of what they label as “Doom Thrash”. A pretty sick opener, you will headbang this one, no doubt about it. Next, “A Pile of Severed Heads” shows the guys shift gears and adding some punk rhythms and vocals that’ll remind you of Motorhead. Things take on a quite surprising shade of heavy on tracks “Grengus” and “Drowned on Gold“, with clean vocals arriving to share stage with the harsh ones, achieving a certain unmistakable – who would’ve guessed -grung-y tone.
While these two tracks seem a bit unfocused and plodding, Horn of The Rhino return to their initial intelligent synocaption and primal heaviness on “Waste for Ghouls” and “Awaken Horror of Tuul“. My favorite track here, though, is “Brought Back“, where the guys find the courage to explore the grungy vibe they previously introduced, resulting in eleven inspiring minutes:
The album is at an end, but not before fully immersing us in aggression one final time, on “To Ride The Leviathan“. Seems like this release is really the shape-shifter, changing a bit with every track. Having previously listened to the tracklist in the wrong order(!), I’ve now amended my mistake and can say I better understand, and appreciate the balanced dynamic flow of “Grengus“(though this, ironically, has messed up the review a bit, haha!). However, I still think the ride has been a bit flawed, with at least a quarter of the songs feeling too droney and monotone, for my taste at least!
On the upside, “Brought Back” certainly brought back from the dead something nostalgic and refreshing. So much current music pales in comparison to this song – it has incredible replay value, and is perhaps the main reason I’m giving this album a respectable score of 7/10.
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