CD Review: ‘An Outsider’ by Rhine

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Six months ago I was elated with the discovery of Rhine’s debut album, Duality, which enthralled me more than any other progressive death metal release had done in years.  I even had the honor of speaking with founder and frontman, Gabriel Tachell, digging deeper into the LP which he had written, performed, and produced single-handedly.  Now, here I sit with an advanced copy of Rhine’s sophomore release, An Outsider, which will hit music stands Feb. 5, 2016, elated once again.  Tachell has managed to conjure up a collection of tracks that take the edges of Duality and expand them, with deeper lows, groovier rhythms, and even more magnificent melodies.

If I had to vote on one song that best captures this entire album, it would undoubtedly be the initial track, “Dreaming Of Death.”  With its breathy, ominous opening; its shifting set of nail-pounding riffs; and its flowing landscape of moods, it captures much of what has made me love Rhine.  Tachell’s voice switches back and forth between pleasantly clean vocals, guttural bellows, as well as shrieks which bring to mind Coroner’s Roy Royce.  Yet, towards the end we’re carried away on a wave of acoustic guitars coupled sparsely with piano and orchestral strings, airing at times towards sounds of early Opeth.  Next thing you know, we’re surrounded by an uplifting, cathartic climax of instrumentation which throws us off the cusp into the ocean of the rest of the album.

One might wonder how things could possibly get better after such a stunning showcase.  Yet, whether we’re talking about the heart-melting guitar solo from “Spell Of Dark Water;” the eerie organ-work in “Somewhere;” or the regal horn/harpsichord section of “P.R.E.Y.,” which surely must herald the coming of a Wall Of Death at live shows, each manages to be a Grade A Prime Cut.  If the last mention didn’t alert you, even the unabashed humor has made a return.  This is most noticeable on the track “Into The Unknown,” which features a trade-off between brutally harsh vocals and Tachell’s frolicking falsetto, not to mention…well, I don’t want to spoil everything!  Just be prepared.

An Outsider is an extremely diverse offering, combining tongue-in-cheek moments with extremely serious and bleak subject matter.  Our ears may hear a circus-esque piece of instrumentation and later hear lyrics such as “it’s hard to want to live just to die.” As life blends randomly moments of joy and sorrow, so Tachell blends seemingly disagreeable tones and moods into a musical landscape.  And you know what?  It’s superbly done.  An Outsider is a grand release that will undoubtedly lead Rhine to some deserved recognition.

Pre-Order/Buy An Outsider here: From The Band

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CD Review: ‘Duality’ by Rhine

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Whilst going through my first listen of Rhine’s debut album, Duality, I couldn’t decide whether to applaud or laugh at the one-man-band efforts of Gabriel Tachell. Laugh might sound like a mean response to someone’s hard work, but I assure you that it isn’t my intention to disrespect anyone. Rather, it is due to the ultimate freedom that this album displays, and actively explores. While Rhine has created a chiefly death metal release, it is certainly progressive in many ways, the contrast of which can be humorous when you hear it for the first time. One thing is certain, however: there is a musicality to Duality that is not only impressive, but alluring and refreshing.

I’m very particular about my death metal. If the vocals don’t contain a particular growl to screech ratio, or if they’re not guttural enough…or too guttural, then it just won’t do! I’m just kidding, of course. I don’t sit here and measure these things, but honestly, there are very few vocalists that I really like in the field of harsh singing. Some of the ones that come to mind that I really like are Lamb Of God’s Randy Blythe, Death’s Chuck Schuldiner, and Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt. Now I believe it’s time to add Gabriel Tachell to that list. He has a vocal depth that not only hits you in the gut and sends out vibrations, but rises up to a screech that will cut to the bone but is short of being shrill. Being able to understand most of the words to the songs helps too!

I mentioned laughing and applauding. That is because Rhine is unafraid of boundaries. The music is played superbly and there is never a doubt that a single note has gone astray. The riffs are tight and full, but do wise to shy away from being a wall of noise.  If the music isn’t dynamic, and a wall of noise is not, then there is no room to breathe and the song suffocates. Duality ranges from brutal, but groove-filled guitar passages to delicate airy notes that linger and fade. Not since Opeth’s Blackwater Park have I been this enthralled by a death metal release. Powerhouses like “Masking Hostility” burn the ears and the soothing sounds of songs like “Forgotten Soul” provide the salve. But there is a more playful side to this release as well. Take the song “Goregeous” for instance, which simply in name shows the dual nature of this album. While starting off extremely heavy, and intricate – the twin guitars doubling a computerized lick – it transforms into…something. Imagine if The Darkness was trying to parody itself. That’s honestly the best way I can describe it. And I’m pretty sure that the short excursion, which lasts for only a minute before returning to its death metal origins, gets kicked off with a burb.

This is a thick album and one obvious reason for that is due to it beginning with a 9+ minute track entitled “Until Death Remains” and ending with an epic 17 minute moody closer called “Living In Perfect Harmony.” As it a result, it may not make it onto your Summer Drive Mix next time you hit the road. But for those who feel like brooding, or want to jam out to some well-done death metal, I urge you to give this a listen. The music is atmospheric, but not nearly so dissonant as to detract from it being enjoyable. Gabriel Tachell has impressed me with not only his talent as a player, but how he could make this release feel so much like a unified band effort while doing everything himself. Rhine is currently working on its sophomore release, this time with a line-up that has been perfecting itself on the road, even supporting Sepultura. With the fantastic performance on Duality I can only imagine what shall result from this combined effort. May we not need wait long!

For more on Rhine, visit:
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Purchase Duality: From The Band!
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