By Dr. Abner Mality
Last time RHINE flowed past my door, it was with their opus “An Outsider”, a promising mashup of progressive rock and death metal. I mentioned at the time that RHINE could really be something if they tightened things up a bit. Well, they’ve tightened plenty and now the band is surely “something”.
“Auslander” is a more focused and intense record and heavier as well. The death metal aspects are more pronounced yet in no way have they abandoned their more melodic and progressive side. The album comes across as a real journey, with each song a necessary step along the way, building to a grand climax. Although there are long songs here, none break the 10 minute mark and “Auslander” is content with 8 songs whereas the RHINE of “An Outsider” probably would have went for 12 or more. The editing is all for the better here.
It’s fun following the songs through their hills and valleys...almost like riding a bike across a countryside that is pastoral on the straight and narrow but extremely stormy on the curves and hilltops. The epic “Running Away” and “The Path to Power” are tracks where RHINE really go on an adventure...from harsh technical death with singer Gabe Tachell screaming like somebody is sandpapering his lungs to smooth prog in the PORCUPINE TREE vein and back again. There’s some OPETH overtones, a bit of TOOL, even some strong electronic sounds on “Shadow Future”, but it all flows super well, with Tachell and his associates demonstrating superb musicianship.
After recently hearing a ton of “cavernous” death metal that started to melt into a faceless blur, RHINE’s more experimental approach was a pleasure to listen to. I can really see “Auslander” bringing the band another rung up the ladder.