|Illustration by Renzo Velez|
My seven year old daughter saw the cover of Rhin's Bastard and asked me “Why does that guy have a horn on his head?” I told her I didn't know. It didn't immediately dawn on my that it could have something to do with Rhin being an “o” short of “rhino” but then again it was the crack of dawn and I wasn't all with it yet. After some listening an explanation could also be because he's horny for riffs and charges hard. Or the rhino thing.
But I'm more stoked about the riffs. The non-stop, heart-racing riffs raining down like a monsoon. Right from the get-go Rhin are all ahead full with the kind of energy that gets you going more effectively than the strongest cup of joe. And with bassist/vocalist Dominic Gianninato screaming his coarse fool head off, it's the sort of thing you just can't ignore.
I've seen their sound referred to as hardcore sludge and I suppose that's true but I'm more likely to describe it as hard rock for the adrenaline junky. “I Want More” fills that hardcore slot with razor-sharp riffing cramming speed down your throat but that's also where you can hear a touch of the Melvins. Follow-up “Man is Bastard” utilizes the same elements.
“Shovel” really brings the sludge heaviness and bruising mentality. Speaking of bruising, drummer Ben Proudman terrorizes his kit. If the skins still had working blood vessels, his would be every shade of black and blue. Not only does he hit VERY hard but he's got groove, man. No where is this more evident than on “Consumed”. It's a slow burner and at over twice the length of any other track it's like the cool down at the end of the workout.
The other band they can be compared to at times is Helmet. “Gravy” and “Bull Doze” are fine examples of that influence with the latter flashing similarly styled riffs and guitarist Tucker Riggleman digging into his inner Page Hamilton for those solos. That's some AA shit right there. As in, Always Approved.
I'm not sure what kind of moonshine they're brewing out in “Ted's Shed” (they are from West Virginia after all) but it's potent enough to cause blindness and is infused with an addicting essence. This may be a bastard but it'll get you up in the morning and keep you going through the night. Rhin are for sure a band to keep an eye on. Brow-beating and slick as silk, Bastard will run you over and back over your shattered bones. And watch out for that horn.