Your mother will tell you it’s not big, it’s not clever, and it’s not necessary, and maybe she’s right, but also fuck her and her dickhead opinions, because sometimes swearing is the most twat-slappingly satisfying thing in the world, and you’ll be hard pushed to find a more satisfying intro to an album in 2018 than The Silence opener Timewave Zero, whose opening refrain of “Mirror mirror mirror mirror mirror on my fucking wall” will have you satisfying yourself (so to speak) every time you visit the bathroom from now on. Following that gloriously potty-mouthed sucker punch, the next thing to strike about Feed The Rhino’s fourth album is the enormous increase in melody and clean vocals, which have cropped up very occasionally in the past but are now deployed at turbo levels, adding something of the While She Sleeps to proceedings and aiming the album squarely at a bigger, bolder, more mainstream audience. It makes the Rhino a slightly different beast to the one we know (pardon the pun), but more importantly, by ‘eck does it work. Whereas past releases could be accused of being a bit loutish and guilty of favouring substance over style, The Silence adds nail-gun precision and ball-busting confidence to that yobbish power, matching huge choruses to devastating riffs with often brilliant results. Adding an almost post-hardcore vocal bent to the proceedings is bound to piss off a few purists, but it’s hard to deny that after years of screaming like a bag of gravel in a wood chipper, Lee Tobin can actually sing, like, properly sing, Pop Idol style [alright, calm down – Ed.]. The album is still undeniably metal as fuck, don’t worry about that, with hints of the mathier side of Every Time I Die on All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy and absolutely zero fucks given on the belligerent Featherweight, but that newfound Billy Big Bollocks sensibility infects everything like a virus, most noticeably Losing Ground, which carries more than a little of the 36 Crazyfists ballad about it. At the risk of alienating yet more people, there’s also something of the P.O.D. about some of the riffing, particularly Yellow and Green and Fences, while the theme tune to 28 Days Later creeps into the more atmospheric moments of Fences and Losing Ground, ensuring that this is more than just metallic hardcore with a few fancy sing-alongs. At their best when they meld their past belligerence with their new found love of a tune, The Silence sees Feed The Rhino stride dominantly forward with one foot caked in the grot of the past and the other kicking down any doors or faces that get in their way. Previous album cycles have often felt like they came to a rather unceremonious and abrupt end, accompanied by the faint whiff of a band reluctantly forced to return to their day jobs after reaching the limits of their chosen art, but this expansion opens the band up to a much wider realm of possibility, and potentially, hopefully much bigger rewards. Only time will tell how far Feed The Rhino 2.0 will go, but considering how renowned their live shows are, and with a corker like this under their belt, this is undeniably their best chance yet, and The Silence should see the Kent bruisers sticking around for some time yet.
PS Sorry, mum, you’re not a dickhead, love you xxx