By Dr. Abner Mality

A rhinoceros is one formidable beast. With its massive weight, low center of gravity, thick skin and dense skull, it is capable of knocking over just about anything. When it works up speed, almost nothing can stop it. It's also known for its nearsightedness and ornery personality. Such a shame that they are being exterminated at such a fast clip...we may see the last of them soon.

The band Horn of the Rhino hails from the Czech Republic and is every bit as massive and crushing as its namesake. These guys used to be known as just Rhino until forced to change their name. This is their fourth album, but the first I've heard. Right now, I feel like a herd of rhinos has knocked me flat and trampled me into an African mudhole. WOW! These guys play for keeps! A mixture of sludge, old school death metal and even some slight grunge influences, they show no remorse over the course of "Grengus" and the result is a lesson in pure heaviness.

"Under The Hoof" begins with a rampaging blast of thick distortion which turns into a Bolt Thrower style spine-breaker. And I'm talking OLD Bolt Thrower, "Realm of Chaos" era. "Pile of Severed Heads" continues the attack sounding like the angrier cuts from High On Fire but with more of a death metal feel...excellent riffing here! A change comes on the title track, where vocalist/guitarist Javier Galvez switches from his Jeff Bercerra like screaming to a very cool and bluesy clean voice right out of Soundgarden or Alice In Chains. The transformation is astonishing and it adds some melody to a track dripping in sludge.

The album continues in exactly the same fashion, with brutal sludge/death attacks like "Waste For Ghouls" and "Awaken, Horror of Tuul" mixed with doomy, grungy dirges like the 11 minute "Brought Back". I feel that sludge metal is reaching its saturation point, but Horn of the Rhino flatten you with so much meaty aggression and such classic riffing that it's impossible to rate this album as anything but a masterpiece. A great lumbering album that does indeed embody the might of its endangered namesake.