Mar 15, 2016

Album Review: Black Rhino - Black Rhino EP

Black Rhino - Black Rhino EP
A Review by Robert Dean

Chicago has always had a thriving music scene. While some decades are better than others for output, there’s always a crop of bands doing it right. Black Rhino is an up and comer that’s on the “doing it right” musical side of the tracks. And thank God, for a long while too many bands were way too into copying Disturbed. The Smashing Pumpkins phase has passed, and no one wants to copy Alkaline Trio any longer. Essentially, the cultural appropriation of Chicago bands is over currently.

But, back to Black Rhino:

Being a newer band, Black Rhino are admittedly finding their sound, but the e.p. they just dropped has some pretty wonderful moments on it. I don’t even know if the e.p. has a name, but I know it’s just been released on their Facebook page, and it doesn’t suck, hence me taking the time to review them.

The Black Rhino e.p. is a fascinating look at a band that’s very much a work in progress. The songs are a little all over the place but leave you hopeful that these dudes could provide a nice kick in the teeth to Chicago’s stagnant music community. The music feels legitimate and heartfelt.

A beautiful touch of Black Rhino’s sound throughout the e.p. is that it’s not shy about leaning on musical influences. While the band is young, it’s not a bummer to hear traces of Beatles riffs or a little nod to some Sonic Youth here or there. It’s actually kind of nice.

"King Coma" is easily the stand out track on the e.p. without a doubt. It’s a solid mixture of Fugazi and At The Drive-in guitar riffs with a schizophrenic vocal style that matches perfectly. The groove is crooked, and the guitars are a little off timed, which makes it perfect. The overall expression of "King Coma" is frantic and maybe a little unsure of itself, but I like that – it’s got fire.

"Raincloud" is the other Black Rhino standout. It’s a little reminiscent of Alice In Chain’s "Got Me Wrong," but it evokes a mood, an aura of accepting that life is pretty fucked up. The vocal layering is spot on, vintage Stone Temple Pilots, which when done correctly is a welcomed treat.

With folks a little tired of music sounding like it’s straight from a Mario Brothers game, it’s nice to hear a band that’s got more in common with the 90’s style of rock and roll than anything we’ve heard recently. There’s more classic Pearl Jam here than anything from the 00’s, and I’m perfectly fine with guitar riffs touched by Stone Gossard or someone grabbing a megaphone and chanting like Scott Weiland used to.

If this e.p. is any signal of the direction of Black Rhino, the future looks bright from these Chicago boys.


You can hear Black Rhino EP here:

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